Plenty of devices can claim to have an Intel microprocessor inside. But, seriously, a Coke machine? This one does, and it can take your picture, too.
At the Intel Developer Forum on Tuesday, Intel showed off an interactive Coke machine manufactured by SIA Interactive, a South American technology and design firm. The machine towered over Dadi Perlmutter, the head of Intel's chip group.
Who Needs A Core i7 For A Soda?
Inside the Coke machine is a Core i7, the most powerful of Intel's desktop microprocessors. Normally, the chip would be found within a server or high-end PC. It's telling that Intel is positioning its chips as drivers of what are normally called "embedded" devices, where the microprocessor is placed in a variety of housings, typically for a mobile device. That role, more and more, is being played by rival ARM, a chip designer that licenses its chips to a number of chip manufacturers, including Samsung and even Apple, and is often found in smartphones and other mobile devices.
Oddly enough, the SIA Coke machine isn't really the most interesting Coke dispenser out there; that would probably be the Coke Freestyle, which uses an external design by Italian designer Pininfarina and specialized microdosing technology that can mix up "custom" Coke drinks.
Star In Your Very Own Coke Ad?
But the Intel-powered Coke machine does have one advantage: social networking. If you'd like to show off to the world what you're drinking, the machine includes a Webcam that can take your picture and then email it to whoever you'd like.
If you're already worried about the privacy implications, you're not alone. Even Perlmutter himself noted that the "camera could give a lot of information to the supplier, including gender, and the age group," so many users may want to guard their privacy. Whether that means they would have to wear a mask while buying a refreshing beverage wasn't made clear.
What also wasn't made clear was why the Coke machine actually needs a chip as powerful as a Core i7. Perlmutter made light of the issue, noting that an animated LCD display performed admirably: "The Coke is going very fast," he joked.
Unfortunately, the SIA Coke machine isn't available - yet - within North America. So far, it's found primarily in Latin America - including Argentina and Mexico. A representative for SIA said that the machine is available in a total of eight countries.
All images by Mark Hachman.