Thailand’s rice ATM

Skyrice cover
Images adapted: Nation TV and @WassanaNanuam

People in Thailand continue to find ways to help each other through the COVID-19 crisis, whether it’s sharing pantries or food coupons.

On 16th July, the Royal Thai Air Force demonstrated their new rice ATM at Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital in Bangkok. They wanted to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

It dispenses rice with sensors

The rice ATM is a collaboration between the Royal Thai Air Force, the National Science and Technology Department, and SK Scale Co Ltd., a machinery manufacturer company. The rice is donated by private sectors, according to Bangkok Post.

It is located on the second floor of the Khum Kao Building at Bhumibol Adulyadej Hospital. The “Skyrice” machine is able to hold 100kg and distributes 1kg per person.

The machine operates with motion sensors and detects when someone approaches. Then, the smart camera scans the person’s face to make sure they aren’t back too soon for seconds – there is a cooldown for how often you can get rice. It will then ask you to step on the pedal to dispense rice. You need to bring your own container or bag to collect the rice.

Not the first Rice ATM

Skyrice Vietnam
Image credit: EFE

However, Thailand’s Skyrice is not the first rice ATM of its kind. Vietnam has their own rice ATMs that have been operating 24/7 since April. Some of Vietnam’s rice ATMs have made it to Cambodia and East Timor as of May.

The difference is that Vietnam’s machine has a button that alerts someone in charge to dispense rice, while Thailand’s version seems to be fully sensor-activated.

The hospital and RTAF will continue to look after the machine while considering other ways to further help civilians, reported LapLuangPrangChannel. There are currently no details on whether or not the Skyrice will appear in other locations.

Sharing food during the crisis

As we continue to move forward with the “new normal”, there is a lot of stress about being able to have food on the table during economic hard times.

Having food to get by is greatly appreciated during this time as you won’t be able to fight through the crisis on an empty stomach.

More articles about people helping each other:

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