For the summer exhibition of my fine art studies at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and in cooperation with our local hackspace I build a mechanical Bitcoin vending machine. It repurposes an used vending machine, takes your 1€-Coin and spits a little box containing a link to an easywallet.org webwallet containing 1€ (minus the material costs).
I think this project is of interest to the bitcoin community as I also try to explore the possibilities of Bitcoin POS systems and also the design of physical representations of Bitcoins and usability aspects.
The project is still developing as we are getting to know the machine and how to mod it. Next step include support for TORwallet.net (second slot needs to be fixed). I am also developing a more flat box design which folds out to a sheet containing the link. I worked on it before I had the machine, testing then showed my boxes were to unstable, so I decided to use the normal boxes so it works flawlessly through the exhibition. Also, if we find a place to keep the machine for an extended time the amount per box will be raised to the 3€ maximum to get down the percentage of material costs (a box is 0.18€ in bulk and 0.09€ if manufactured by me which is not a viable long term option).
You'll find pictures at our backspace's blog (http://blog.maschinenraum.tk/bitcoin-vending-machine
) and I am open to questions and feedback here
PS. My dream project would be a electronic version 2.0 with the ability to also withdrawal cash for BTC. My initial research shows this would be possible using a mixture of open source software and hardware and some proprietary modules to deal with the physical money.
The real puzzle is how to handle authentication when depositing BTC. The other way around, you are authenticated because you just inserted a coin (no difference here between a mechanical or electronic machine).
If you could transfer BTC to an address of machine
a) we have to wait for the verification
b) we have no way to know you were the sender.
Best working (and usable) idea so far is to also use webwallet. You transfer yourself to a temporary wallet and give the URL.
I am shure there are better ways to this I haven't thought of.