Kellogg's
Electronics Engineering // Embedded Software // Web

Overview

Kellogg's 'Bad Weather' vending machine is haled as a World First. The premise was simple - a vending machine that dispensed cereal for free if the weather was bad (you have to get your Vitamin D somehow) and charged users if the weather was good.

The technology behind the project was also straightforward - the machine was connected to an online Weather API, and fitted with bespoke electronics to bypass the built in logic.

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Brief

Kellogg's wanted to create a unique vending machine that dispensed products for free in bad weather, and charged for them in good weather. Our engineers took it a step further - they configured an online portal so that the marketing team could configure the weather for themselves (you would be amazed how many weather codes there are, and how most of them generally mean 'bad')!

  • Online connectivity
  • Connected to a live weather API for the current location
  • Override the built in vending electronics
  • Vend multiple products simultaneously
Bespoke Vending Integration

Our engineers didn't have a choice when it came to selecting a machine, so they had to work with what was available. The selected machine was a Palma H87 DT, which turned out to be a great choice. The on-board vending electroncis were overridden to support our board, which in turn communicated with a Raspberry Pi for ease of control.

  • Override standard button panel, and coin mechanism
  • Track sales, and enable/disable based on the weather
Bespoke Vending Integration

The board that was designed specifically for the task was remarkably simple - it integrated directly with a Raspberry Pi as a 'shield' and made for a compact, straightforward installation.

On-board logic was aimed at enabling or disabling the built in vend controller, and instantly triggering a sale if the weather was bad.

Web Connectivity

By providing a 3G connection to the machine, it was simple to have it listening to a live weather service. Fortunately for consumers on launch day, the weather was absolutely terrible (anyone living in Brighton might remember this day). The web application that was created for the client enabled them to manually specify which weather codes should be considered 'bad' and 'good' - there were over 40 in total.

  • Client could specify which weather codes to interpret as 'bad'
  • On-board electronics would query for the weather status before vending
Products

Adding to the experience, the machine was bespokely configured to vend cereal, milk and a bowl, simultaneously. This enabled eager consumers to quickly consume their vitamin D for the day, and added to the experience.

  • Product stock was managed by the interface controller board
  • Machine stock could be configured remotely