Japan’s legal minimum age for smoking is 20 years. But with more than 50% of the sale being made through vending machines there is little to stop underage smokers from using them.
But within the next few months Vending machine maker Fujitaka plans to outfit its models with software that can assess whether a customer is at least 20 years old. The Fujitaka machines will scan a customer’s face with a build-in camera, codifying and comparing facial features with data from a huge image bank.
If the face is too young, the buyer must insert a driver’s license or answer questions over an intercom from the machine’s owner (usually a nearby shopkeeper).
Omron, the company that developed the technology says that the device gauges age as accurately as a human. But we all know that many teenagers look much older than their age.