These vending machines provide food and drinks to countless Japanese any time of the day, as long as there is power. But they aren’t much good when a big earthquake takes down the power grid.
This is where the hand-cranked design from Sanden would come in useful. Power required for the vending action is drawn through a hand-crank generator. A customer is able to purchase up to seven bottles after cranking the machine 70 times. That’s quite a lot of course, but does have the benefit of discouraging hoarding – which proved to be an enormous problem after the March 11, 2011 earthquake.
It is an interesting idea, and as long as it can dispense drinks without cranking when the power is on, it could prove successful. Vending machines around Japan are actually designed to dispense free drinks during disasters, but when the power is off they cannot function – which, in extreme circumstances, can lead to the machines being broken open.