Augmented Reality...Wait For It...Vending Machines!

America is so lame. When you buy a soft drink from a vending machine here, and all you get is diabetes. In Japan, however, you get the whole augmented reality experience.

A new kiosk by Toppan Printing Co Ltd, being tested in three of Japan's supermarkets now, allows shoppers to look up a QR code (then print it, or have it on their phone's screen), hold it up to the machine and receive a free product sample.

The bigger gimmick, however, is that you can then hold the actual product up to the vending machine and get a bunch of floaty infographics (we know, it's a little late once you've already purchased a product). But if the software was tweaked a bit, something like a can of Coke could become a bubbling mana potion in your hand. And as long as you consumed said drink while looking at yourself on the augmented LCD screen, well, nothing special would happen.

Or would it? [Tech On via UberGizmo]