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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ice Cream Machines and Other Dreams

There are vending machines for soda pop and candy, for lottery tickets and live bait, for DVDs and toys. Kodak once played around with vending machines for film. Here's a new one: Vending machines for fresh ice cream. MooBella Inc. of Massachusetts this week is demonstrating a machine that will combine milk and other ingredients and flash-freeze it into ice cream in 45 seconds. It's a computer-controlled system that also allows users to choose "mix-ins" like candy pieces.

The technology is getting a rollout at this year's DEMO Conference in Arizona, which annually presents cutting-edge innovations from companies both large and small. Here's an article that describes some of this year's presenters. MooBella is undoubtedly gets the award for the most-talked about potential invention. Many others have to do with things very high-tech, but there are a few of great interest.
  • A company called Pay By Touch Inc. of San Francisco is developing technology that will allow customers to pay for purchases by having their fingerprint scanned.
  • Tiny Pictures Inc. is promsing new software that will optimize the photographic experience for users of camera cellphones.
  • Bones In Motion of Austin, Texas combined GPS technology and cellular telephones for the sake of personal fitness. An inital application uses the cell phone to track distance, speed and route for runners.

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