The move is an effort to make vending machines more exciting, according to a statement on Kirin’s website. Products are displayed via an LCD interface, and the machines are also able to screen video advertising.
The photos feature colourfully illustrated backgrounds and Line characters, and are in a similar style to Japan’s popular ‘purikura’ instant photo booths.
The photo service is optional, and free. The vending machines provide instructions in Chinese, English and Korean in addition to Japanese.
While the photo-taking offers people a light-hearted diversion, the vending machines also serve a more serious function: to provide emergency warnings and disaster prevention information should an earthquake or tsunami strike.
Shintaro Kurita, manager of Line's global account planning team, who leads the company's partnership with Intel, explained that the machine is enabled by Intel's Internet of Things (IOT) technology.
"We made this because we are now really focusing on developing IOT-based services with brands, since we believe the messenger app could [act as a remote control] for every IOT device, which will eventually be a big business source," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific via email.