Optical vend-sensing system for control of vending machine

  • US 6,794,634 B2
  • Filed: 12/06/2000
  • Issued: 09/21/2004
  • Est. Priority Date: 04/29/1998
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
Patent Images

1. A vending machine, comprising:

  • a transparent front;

    a dispensing mechanism configured to perform vending operations in order to dispense a product selected by a consumer;

    a vend space comprising a portion of the space in said vending machine through which said selected product will automatically fall into a bin portion for retrieval by the consumer; and

    an optical vend-sensing system configured to sense when said selected product passes through said vend space, said optical vend-sensing system including, an emitter mechanism configured to generate electromagnetic radiation that substantially spans said vend space, and a detector mechanism configured to receive said electromagnetic radiation generated by said emitter mechanism and to detect changes in said electromagnetic radiation caused by said selected product passing through said vend space.

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