When it comes to automated alcohol vending, we’ve covered different ways machines could verify a person’s age, but we’ve never written about a machine that checks your Spanish pronunciation to unlock service. That’s exactly what a promotional vending machine from Corona does, asking users to properly ask for a Hard Seltzer Lemonada en español, before a can is dispensed.
Corona announced the pop-up vending machine on the Las Vegas strip last week (hat tip to AdAge). According to the press announcement, the machine asked consumers to order their drink in Spanish by saying “Dame una Corona Hard Seltzer Limonada, por favor.” The machine listens to the pronunciation and if correct (the company didn’t specify what technology is being used to determine proper pronunciation), it dispenses a sample can of the drink. If the pronunciation is incorrect, users are given a one-month subscription to the language learning app Duolingo.
This caught our eye here at The Spoon because we love smart vending machines and are curious whenever one is doing something a little different. Whether or not the idea of using free alcohol to encourage proper pronunciation of another language is a good idea is a subject for a different blog post. But the idea of a machine listening to a customer talk and dispensing drinks based on pronunciation is intriguing, to say the least.
Over the course of this year, we’ve covered a bunch of beer-pouring robots whose main job is to pump out pint after pint after pint for large crowds. But could voice recognition be used to slow down drink service? I’m not an engineer, but there is probably a way for a smart vending machine to recognize slurred words or other indications of overservice and deny drink dispensing. That would obviously require a lot of work and validation, but as we see more unattended vending machines pop up, they will need an assortment of tools to make sure they are service drinks responsibly.