7th July 2009 / Tom Quarry
Over the past year we have seen many successful kiosks installed across various retail sectors for consumer use. We saw the award-winning Kiddicare Xen X5 kiosk by Protouch and the implementation of Redbox for 24 hour DVD rental both storm to success in the kiosk world proving that kiosks can improve and change a business for the better.
With the good comes the bad with the cool comes the bizarre, and we have found the top 5 bizarre kiosks ever built in technology history. We can tell you the who, what, when where but we really can't tell you the why!
Student performance kiosks
When visiting your local grocery store you generally pop in to buy food, clothing, DIY products; the essentials of day to day living.
However in a small town in Colorado, six City Market grocery stores have installed self service kiosks which tell you about your children!
News reports by The Daily Sentinel said that parents can use the kiosks to look up their child's school grades, attendance records, assignments and lunch expenditure. They can even schedule parent-teacher conferences.
Some of you may think this is a practical idea for parents to find out how their child is getting on in school, but how on earth does this help the child? Instead they would sit in fear every time you visit the grocery store and would much prefer to go hungry than you see their low grade on a test they struggled with.
Verdict: Great for the parents, not so great for the kids!
Self Service Book Binding Kiosk
A book publishing company developed the Espresso book ATM kiosk, which can publish books on demand.
The kiosk accepts pdf files from the user, then prints, mills, aligns, glues and dispenses professionally bound books in just seven minutes.
While it may be ideal for people wanting to publish their own book they have spent time and energy writing, it takes away the idea of going into a book store and browsing through endless books to find the perfect summer holiday read.
Self service kiosks are great for so many purposes but to take all good traditions away would make things slightly boring.
Verdict: Great concept for self published authors, but slightly demoralising for published high-profile authors.
Carbon Offset Kiosks
Believe it or not but this is for real! A self service kiosk has been developed which simply takes user's money and in exchange provides them with a certificate of no benefit or worth whatsoever.
At San Francisco International Airport, holiday goers return home from their travels, slowly walking past self service kiosks which give details of the amount of carbon emissions travellers have spewed into the atmosphere during their flight.
Travellers can volunteer to swipe their debit/credit cards and pay compensation in the form of carbon offsets so they feel less guilty about their polluting ways.
Verdict: Great for investing money into the environment but in the current economical climate I can't see people rushing to spend money on air pollution that everyone around the world is doing too. Can't see if really taking off, can you?
The Robot Kiosk
The robot kiosk is a replica of a life-sized android. The kiosk has been designed to use facial recognition technology to identify, single out and target ads to individuals.
Scarily manipulative, the kiosk will bombard you will offers and advertisements trying in every way possible to get you to purchase products or tickets you don't necessarily want.
Possibly a scary idea to implement at the present time as people like to shop and choose what they want instead of being told what they want by a soulless robot!
Verdict: Great if you are in a rush to buy tickets and it pops up on an advertisement, but kind of takes away the idea human interaction and brings us scarily closer to the idea of the world becoming robots!