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Browse Prior Art Database

On-Line Vending Machine and Catalog Product Icons

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000115410D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-30
Document File: 4 page(s) / 131K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

McLean, JA: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Disclosed are icons in the shape of products which give an indication of product availability and characteristics of products in vending machines. They may also be used for on-line catalogs, automated purchasing kiosks, and interactive shopping by TV or computer.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 44% of the total text.

On-Line Vending Machine and Catalog Product Icons

      Disclosed are icons in the shape of products which give an
indication of product availability and characteristics of products in
vending machines.  They may also be used for on-line catalogs,
automated purchasing kiosks, and interactive shopping by TV or
computer.

      The main embodiment includes an icon, presented within a
Graphical User Interface, that visually resembles a product that it
represents.

      As an example, an icon shaped as a soda can may graphically
represent the number of cans remaining in a vending machine for a
particular product.  On-line vending machines, and on-line queries of
vending machines, are now becoming popular.
  For example, via Internet, one may query a Coke machine at
   Rochester Institute of Technology:  drink@csh.rit.edu.
  Users may get an up-to-date JPEG view of the coffee jug via
   Mosaic or Cello with http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/coffee.html.

      This soda machine example is not meant to limit the broad claim
of this invention.  An icon may represent a food, tobacco, or other
product commonly sold in vending machines, and the icon may change
size, color, or other graphical characteristics in relation to how
much of the product remains in the machine.  This helps the vending
machine operator determine how much product is left and when to send
over a human to add the product to the machine.  This may also be
used by vending machine and purchasing kiosk customers.

      Also disclosed is a shopping cart icon or other form of
container used to indicate the accumulation of products in catalog or
home shopping applications.  Further disclosed is the use of the
shopping cart or other form of container which is moved (dragged) by
the user or the system to another icon indicating payment, such as a
cash register.

      Further disclosed are icons for perishable items that indicate
the items' age/freshness.  This, for example, may have particular
applications to fruits, vegetables, yogurts, etc. Consumers may surge
to make purchases when they know that the products are recently
restocked with fresh produce.

      Further disclosed are Icons which flash, change color or size,
or change other graphical attributes to indicate a reduced price sale
is in effect.

      Further disclosed are icons which indicate specific features of
a food product.  For example, they may indicate sodas with or without
ice, hamburgers with or without ketchup, etc.  Also, icons may
indicate desired food temperature.  An LCD slider icon may be used to
indicate and effect brew temperature.  The machine, knowing the
initial temperature of the water, may microwave the coffee to the
desired temperature or for the desired time.

      Further disclosed are icons which indicate specific features of
non-food products, for example different available options in lawn
motors, cars, etc.  These icons may have value for allo...