In an attempt to stem the obesity epidemic that sweeps through the nation, the authorities turned towards technology. Recently, a team of scientists from the Rush University Prevention Center devised a new type of vending machine which forces customers to wait for more if they want to buy a bag of chips, a chocolate bar, or any type of junk food.
The new vending machine concept created by Brad Appelhans, Ph.D., and his colleagues is called DISC or Delays to Improve Snack Choices. Appelhans declared that this solution might encourage more adults, and especially school students, to choose healthier and more nutritious foods.
As for the machine’s design, Appelhans and his colleagues had the courtesy of clearing up a few things for us. What’s the first thing that you associate with a vending machine? Naturally, speed is the most obvious choice.
When we go to buy stuff from a vending machine, we do so because we don’t have more time to go to a restaurant or perhaps another locale to eat more nutritious food. A few seconds after inserting the necessary amount of cash, the vending machine dispenses the selected product. Basically, in under a minute, you can start eating your food of choice.
After reverse-engineering the concept of speedy vending machines, Appelhans and his team managed to create a delayed dispensing system. What does this mean? According to the project’s head researcher, the new type of vending machine is stocked up with healthy food as well as junk food.
When the customer selects a food deemed to be healthy, the vending machine will dispense the product on the spot. On the other hand, if the customer has a sweet tooth or looking for a big bag of salty chips or any other type of junk food for that matter, the vending machine will force him or her to wait for an additional 25 seconds before delivering the product.
Although the idea of having to wait for more in order to eat junk food sounds good, Appelhans declared that the results of this changes were negligible. More specifically, only 2.5 percent of all customers who used the new vending machines decided to switch to healthier food rather than waiting 25 more seconds.
However, the Food and Drug Administration said that this a good step in the right direction, and has decided to implement the DISC system in all vending machines.
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