making your life even more difficult

Have a hard time deciding what to drink at your favorite fast food place?  Coca-Cola is going to make it even harder for you with the new “Freestyle” device.

Forgoing the usual 6 choices, the new Coca-Cola Freestyle will be able to dispense 100 different drinks.  Add a touchscreen user interface, and you’ve got a very attractive package.

“It’s like the iPod of drink machines,” said Gene Farrell, vice president of the Jet Innovation Program for Coca-Cola North America. “We’re essentially reinventing the dispensed beverage business.”[In 2009] Americans are expected to buy nearly $121 billion of soft drinks…. With serious profits at stake, development of the new dispensers, which took four years and cost more than $100 million, was a closely guarded secret.

…To create the stylized refrigerator-sized machine, Coca-Cola partnered with DEKA Research and Development, whose founder, Dean Kamen, invented the Segway and several medical devices.

One of the hurdles for designers was trying to create a high-tech device that was fun and easy to use without reminding people of an “ATM or a computer,” said Vince Voron, senior director of industrial design at Coca-Cola who was recruited from Apple to work on the project.

All this added technology isn’t with out it’s Big Brother worries.  When discussing the old system vs. the new:

While the older-style drink machines use 5-gallon bags of syrup that are then mixed with water and carbonation, the new machines use concentrated flavor cartridges a little larger than a video cassette tape.

Each night, the machines will transmit detailed data to Coca-Cola on what brands sold and at what time of the day. Already, they’ve discovered that the popularity of Caffeine-Free Diet Coke spikes after 3 p.m., Farrell said.

It is comforting knowing that Coca-Cola doesn’t know what specific users are drinking, but it still seems to be a little creepy.  On the other hand, I think I can get over that if I have 100 different drink options….oh the possibilities!

Via Core 77

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2 responses to “making your life even more difficult

  1. Oh wow!

    So where are these going to be placed? Inside a Mcdonalds? Just on the street in the middle of a city?

    Imagine sitting at the drive thru of a Mcdonalds with a newly Cocoa Cola machine asking what the choices were…

  2. I would assume that these would be in place of the current drink dispensers at fast food restaurants.

    Not sure if McD’s is going to really carry 100 different drinks but I think the point is that the technology allows for that.

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