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"Made by Earth" Vending Machine

Interactive vending machine used to inform, educate and entertain. The thought process is not to replace sugar-laden vending machines, but place it next to them to help children make their own choice while learning about nutrition and where food actually comes from.

Photo of DeletedUser
19 49

Written by DeletedUser

The idea is to show where healthy food comes from in a series of 4 steps.


1. Simulated rain falls to the ground.
2. using a small LCD display, children watch as a seedling grows (high-speed recorded footage of a seed sprouting from the ground. The combination of real water in step one will seamlessly be mixed with the growth of the seed in step two).
3. The sun symbolizes growth of the tree and nourishment of the fruit.
4. Once the fruit is "ripe", the fruit is dispensed in an innovative way. Using a pneumatic tube, the fruit drops gently from the "tree" to the dispenser.


Throughout the short presentation, the larger LCD screen in the middle (also used to make a healthy selection) displays facts about each process. Narration and sound (such as thunder, birds, wind) complete the interactive experience.


The LCD screen would also be used 'passively' to provide fun facts and trivia about food and nutrition to constantly engage youth as they walk by the machine (see gallery slide 2 for a quick idea).


An "achievement system" could be built to reinforce the positive choice. This could include the nutritional superiority over a Kit-Kat bar, or the unique benefits of each fruit.


The ultimate goal is for children to learn to make healthy choices while also having a fun time doing it.


Age of kids. The solutions to changing kids’ eating behaviors will vary depending on their age. What works for a toddler won’t necessarily fly for a teenager, although we suspect some concepts might be appropriate for all ages—even adults! Which age bracket does your concept address (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Pre-school (Tots) 2-4
  • Elementary (Kids) 5-10
  • Middle school (Tweens) 11-13
  • High school (Teens) 14 -18
  • Young adults 18-21

Hurdles to success. Helping kids make smarter food choices comes with a variety of hurdles that have to be addressed in order for a design solution to be successful, which of these do you think that your Concept overcomes (tick all relevant boxes)?

  • Expense and Convenience
  • Peer Pressure
  • Lack of Knowledge

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. Food Knowledge - To what extent is this concept teaching people about food knowledge?

It's teaching people a great deal about food knowledge - 42.9%

It's teaching people a moderate deal about food knowledge - 57.1%

It's teaching people a little about food knowledge - 0%

It's not focused on food knowledge - 0%

2. Cooking - Is this concept focused on getting people to cook?

It's all about getting people to cook - 0%

It's moderately about getting people to cook - 14.3%

It's getting people to cook a little - 14.3%

It's not focused on cooking at all - 71.4%

3. Originality - How original is this idea?

This idea is extremely original - 42.9%

This idea is somewhat original - 42.9%

This idea has some originality about it - 14.3%

I have seen this idea before - 0%

4. Scalability - How scalable is this idea across communities and geographies?

This idea can be scaled across many communities and places - 28.6%

This idea can be scaled but needs some work - 14.3%

This idea will take a fair bit of work to scale - 57.1%

This idea cannot scale at all - 0%

19 comments

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Photo of Chandra Shekhar

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Photo of An Old Friend

I think that kids will quickly get bored of this. The first 3-5 times it will be delightful, and then they'll say: "I get it, I get it, just give me the fruit already!"

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Ok, but what about a button: "what else?". The second-level story can be improved telling about where this specific fruit was planted, which chemicals were used, who worked there, etc.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

This made me think about a nutrition course I took in college where my professor spoke about the varying colors of fruits and vegetables and how each color meant that there was a higher concentration of phytochemicals in these plants that each had specific health benefits. For instance, lycopene, found in tomatoes and watermelon, has cancer-fighting affects and makes these fruits red. I think if children were educated about eating a variety of colorful vegetables for health, it would not only keep them interested, it would keep them healthy and provide an easy way for them to remember the nutritional information and pass it on to others (especially future generations- or even their parents!).

On a personal note, I strongly believe that food is my medicine. I haven't been able to afford healthcare for a while so to prevent/combat illnesses and/or infections, I often research vitamins and minerals that I might need more of at any given time and eat the foods that exhibit them. Wouldn't it be great if children were raised to know the vitamins and minerals in most fruits and vegetables and know how these vitamins and minerals could benefit their overall health if consumed?

In order to make this a priority, the focus of healthcare in this country has to shift to prevention rather than treatment and must heavily incorporate new education about nutrition that emphasizes eating for the nutritional properties of food and not the misguided notion that avoiding fat and carbs (and calories) will make one more healthy.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

This made me think about a nutrition course I took in college where my professor spoke about the varying colors of fruits and vegetables and how each color meant that there was a higher concentration of phytochemicals in these plants that each had specific health benefits. For instance, lycopene, found in tomatoes and watermelon, has cancer-fighting affects and makes these fruits red. I think if children were educated about eating a variety of colorful vegetables for health, it would not only keep them interested, it would keep them healthy and provide an easy way for them to remember the nutritional information and pass it on to others (especially future generations- or even their parents!).

On a personal note, I strongly believe that food is my medicine. I haven't been able to afford healthcare for a while so to prevent/combat illnesses and/or infections, I often research vitamins and minerals that I might need more of at any given time and eat the foods that exhibit them. Wouldn't it be great if children were raised to know the vitamins and minerals in most fruits and vegetables and know how these vitamins and minerals could benefit their overall health if consumed?

In order to make this a priority, the focus of healthcare in this country has to shift to prevention rather than treatment and must heavily incorporate new education about nutrition that emphasizes eating for the nutritional properties of food and not the misguided notion that avoiding fat and carbs (and calories) will make one more healthy.

Photo of Luke Flegg

• Make the educational journey 5-10 seconds, not 30
• Randomize the food journey so repeat users keep learning
• Make the machines from

I'd like to see how you'll test and prototype this, could be incredibly cool. Just keep those costs down somehow; don't run out of ingenuity now! We've got to hit the poorest areas hardest x

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I think it is a great idea kids would absolutly love it. I like the idea of the background sounds and the colour.
I do however think it would become boring after a max one month. Maybe you could change the desing on the LCD screen every week?

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Very appealing idea but from a carbon footprint and water point of view seems like a waste just for the gimmick of getting kids to consider fruit.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I think the evaluation criteria above don't go far enough to determine if an idea will catch on with kids - and I think this one will.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Great ideas Demian and Emma. Salads in high traffic areas, dried fruit in all other areas. The possibilities are endless, and variety is key!

Photo of Demian Repucci

Good idea to incorporate informative and fun animation! How about skip the spoilage issues and have the vending machine stock dried fruit products? Dried fruit is great in that it can come in snack sized pieces, is easy to handle, carry and keep, is nutritious and tastes great... sometimes just as good as sweet processed snacks.
As far as fresh food goes, the baby carrot vending machine is inspirational! They have done a lot of work on clever graphics, marketing, ads, etc. It would be great to apply this strategy to other vegetables that could stay fresh for long enough to sell.
Great opportunities for development here!
Thanks for the idea!

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

Great idea, would love to see vending machines with bagged salads and fresh fruit ... maybe a sales pitch to coca cola under their corporate social responsibility banner?

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I agree Thao, fresh, packaged fruits and vegetables could easily be added to a concept like this. The whole thought of this exercise in my mind was to change children's eating habits through positive re-enforcement and fun.

It has already been proven out that people will take the stairs (instead of an escalator) if it plays like a piano. Or that recycling will go up significantly if the recycling machine has a gaming aspect.

Positive reinforcement through fun is a great way to "start the conversation", and hopefully change kids habits at school and home.

Photo of An Old Friend

Life is too busy. We tend to schedule our life around fresh foods, not the other way around, and that is a big pain. Health is not the number one priority - taste, convenience, low cost - these things ranks higher in our minds.

Today I read a NY Times article about a vending macine that sells baby carrots at a high school. This vending machine competes with the junk food vending machine. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/health/policy/25vegetables.html?_r=1&hpw

Perhaps the items in the vending machine could follow the ides from the article to help make eating vegetables easier:

1. packages fo cut broccoli designed to go right into the microwave
2. washed, ready-to-eat bagged salads

An article about a Del Monte special refrigerated vending machines that stocks fresh fruit snakes like pineabpple chunks, grapes, apple slices, baby carrots, celery, tomato, etc.

http://www.freshplaza.com/news_detail.asp?id=51151

If I were a student today, I might go for the healthy alternatives.

Photo of An Old Friend

Our ideas have gone through the inspiration phase, concepting phase, and now the evaluation phase so we've come a long way. I'm seeing many overlaps, odds and ends that can be fitted together. This is a really good idea. To keep it engaging, can we introduce weekly cartoon characters to deliver the facts, who then can become their "hero" over time? Can we somehow bring in social interaction through social networking or social media? For example:Have all their friends on Facebook cheer them on at the moment of truth, when they're choosing the fresh item over the unfresh item.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

I appreciate anyone who has given applause. Please feel free to add comments on how to keep it engaging! Several ideas:

1. Networked system to allow children to keep track of their healthy choices across multiple machines.
2. Connect with a website that provides alternatives to sugary snacks, and allows them to add additional healthy snacks (for points).
3. Achievement systems to cheer them on and "level-up" as they continue to make healthy choices.

Make it fun, make it engaging, leave kids wanting more. It's habit changing and fun.

Joe

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

This would great public art piece as well. I would place vending machine 'shells' around the trees in an apple orchard at harvest time. It would be great to have kids experience getting fruit from a vending machine, in the context of the sights, smells, and sounds of being at an apple farm.

Photo of DeletedUser

DeletedUser

There are so many things I like about this idea! Yet,on a practical level there are some challenges--1) freshness would mean machine would have to be stocked frequently. 2) lack of use would lead to waste. 3) Novelty would wear off over time, in, for instance, a school setting. On a more practical level, I wonder if it would work as an information kiosk in a grocery store. Parents would potentially like it because it gives kids an activity to do at the store. The assumption would be to put it in the produce aisle, but go ahead and put it by the processed stuff. What would come out of the tube would have to be changed to something inedible. And the whole profit-making angle would be gone, but...Anyway, really like the core of the idea.

Photo of Angeliki Angeletou

It is a good idea, it makes profit to the owner of the machine, therefore I find it totally feasible and sustainable!