Made Us Look: This Vending Machine Tweets When You Buy a Snack
Soon, you could be waging a Twitter war against sassy vending machines, and you’ll have Holly to thank. “She” is the ringleader, a computer server connected to a vending machine at Nottingham Hackspace in Britain that’s been programmed to tweet out every time someone buys a candy bar from it.
Why Holly socials your snack habits is a mystery, but we do know how it got involved in this Mean Girls-style tattling. It all boils down to a technical hack that makes the vending machine able to communicate with the Hackspace server whenever employees purchase an item with their company ID card. The cards aren’t loaded with credit like a traditional gift card — Holly controls it and dishes it out. And that’s basically how data like what treat you’re buying, when you bought it, and how much you paid is collected and broadcast via Twitter (for the ultra technical explanation, check out the video above).
Even though Holly has only 54 followers, employees got so annoyed with the digital snack stalking that its Twitter privileges have been temporarily taken away. Sorry, Holly, we’re in full support of the tweet time out. ‘Cause even though the photos we Pin and the songs we listen to on Spotify are made public on our social media accounts, there are still some things in our hyper-connected world that really should stay private. And how many Twix bars you can scarf down in a week is one of those things.
But don’t think that Twitter, tech and vending machines only join forces to gossip about food. At this year’s SXSWi festival, attendees got to indulge their sweet teeth with 3D printed Oreos customized according to tweets with the hashtag #eatthetweet. If anything, that stunt proved that trending and vending actually can live together in harmony.
Have you encountered a Twitter-equipped vending machine? What’s the most epic hack you’ve ever encountered? Tell us in the comments below.