Because of the power shortage that followed the tsunami in Japan last year, thousands of vending machine manufacturer Sanden's units were left useless and unable to vend the drinks, fruit, snacks, or other products they held. The company has come up with a solution to this problem, though — a machine equipped with a dynamo for use in emergencies. In case of an outage, users must turn the crank 70 times to generate enough power for the machine. 20 seconds later, it can vend up to seven items before running out of energy.
It's a laborious solution, but for Japan vending machines are a part of everyday life — according to Japan Trends the country has nearly 5.5 million machines serving 127 million people. Previous efforts have seen manufacturers try using solar panels to maintain the machines in an outage, but in densely-populated areas these are less useful. It's also far simpler than Sanden's concept machine which houses a 65-inch transparent display. One thing's for sure — you'll be glad of the drink once you've worked so hard to get it — however, without power it's not going to be cold when it finally reaches you.