This is definitely MIDAS Fab Lab Director Brad Pommen’s week! First, the announcement of his featured speaking gig and now the exciting unveiling of a project dear to his heart and one that has been much anticipated by Brad, his company, SMRT1 Technologies Ltd., and anyone who has had the privelege to witness the idea’s evolution over these many months.
Eight years ago, having initiated his first tech club, the Nelson Tech Club, Brad found himself in search of an effective way to provide the growing local maker community a way to not only find the tech products and equipment they needed but also how to use it. In one efficient step.
While a huge ask, he looked to the traditional vending kiosk system for his answer. The idea simmered, and the concepts were pondered and explored for the next six years. It wasn’t until shortly into his tenure as Director of MIDAS that the idea started take physical form. He purchased his first vending machine directly from the factory and began the long and iterative journey of prototyping.
At the same time, his new business, SMRT1, also began taking shape. His entrepreneurial journey was assisted when he registered with the BC Venture Accelerator Program under the expert guidance of entrepreneur-in-residence and current Executive Director of KAST, Don Freschi.
From basic vending machine to state-of-the-art touchscreen technology, SMRT1 Technologies is taking a pretty brilliant stab at revolutionizing what is a very conventional industry. Vending machines have been slow to change and the Brain STEM Toolbox technology gives brand new life to the traditional vending machine with incredible touchscreen capabilities that go well beyond simply choosing your desired item off a rack behind glass.
Education is a huge driver behind the Brain STEM Toolbox. It isn’t simply about the purchase. Rather, SMRT1 Technologies has created a learning system designed to be easy and fun. The touchscreen allows for full specs, details and the ability to rotate and zoom on the image of the product to allow for a far more educated purchase.
SMRT1 has been enthusiastically received by local education institutions. There are currently six Brain STEM Toolboxes set to roll out to BC schools in September. Teachers who are already using the learning modules and projects are excited to have in-school access.
The Brain STEM Toolbox takes the vending machine as we have always known it to a whole new level: this is an interactive and educational shopping experience. It’s perfect for schools, technology retail, or any other pop-up retail location. Payments are easy and secure with cash, bank card or digital wallets.
“Snack vending machines are retro-fitted with our custom hardware which uses machine learning to interact with the student to help them choose the right project. It also allows cash, credit or a digital wallet to pay for the project which is then dispensed. It was the best way I could think of to get the projects that pair with the online learning modules close to the students and the teachers,” said Brad Pommen CEO of SMRT1 Technologies.
“The Brain STEM Toolbox can shape-shift to have application to a wide variety of micro-niche retail sectors.”
SMRT1 Technologies bridges the physical shopping experience with that of e-commerce. Not only does this technology revolutionize what is possible through a vending machine, it’s a completely custom experience available for less than $10,000!
This high-tech touchscreen tech vending machine will be on display at the MIDAS Fab Lab booth at the upcoming #BCTECH Summit in Vancouver next week, May 14-16,
If you want more information on the Brain STEM and SMRT1, do visit: www.smrt1.ca.