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MooBella MachineBaskin-Robbins oughtta be scared.  Easily the highlight for me while attending DEMO 2006 was sampling the wares of the Moobella Ice Cream vending machine.  Yesterday they announced their $25M Series A financing, which is an impressive indicator of how far along they are both in operationalizing their machines and deploying them out in the field.

I spent some time talking last February to Jim Baxter, their VP of Engineering, and there is considerable technology developed for the machine on the user interaction side (the device has one of the best touch-screen UIs I’ve ever seen) and for management of the device, not to mention making the ice cream.  Just so you’re clear:  the ice cream is made fresh while-you-wait, with a wide array of flavors and possible toppings.

As a bonus, the whole thing is run by Linux.  I watched one of their prototypes get absolutely creamed (pun intended) by thousands of people during the DEMO show, to the point where they were resupplying the thing 2 or 3 times a day, and it never once floundered or made a bad sundae.  I’d love to be the franchisee for these in Canada.