Pani Puri machine
Pani Puri machineIBT creative

Coronavirus destroys anything it touches and we're not just talking about the devastating loss of human lives. Businesses, from airlines to tourism and hospitality, have all been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not just the big corporations, but also the small vendors who rely on daily income to run their day-to-day essential needs. With all the lockdown restrictions in place, we've seen our favorite Pani Puri stall empty.

The chaat vendors, often crawling by people, is suddenly stranded and many have even shut shop after being unable to bear the mounting expenses and debts. Even as the Indian government has started to relax the lockdown restrictions, we don't see the people rushing to the nearby chaat guy asking for that one extra puri. Reason: people are afraid of the deadly contagion that is spreading like wildfire and maintaining extreme hygiene is all that's standing in the way.

But there's a shimmer of hope for the niche yet widespread chaat profession to revive in the post-COVID era by assuring customers of complete hygiene. A fully-automated Pani Puri vending machine that works like an ATM without any human assistance. You heard that right!

An ATM? No, it's a Pani Puri machine

A video was posted on Twitter, demonstrating how an ATM-like Pani Puri vending machine could make the popular chaat without human intervention. A brief 90-second video shows the machine, which has a label "Auto Pani Puri Centre", in full action. The machine is made in India, something a lot of people could value considering the ongoing anti-China sentiment

The machine has an LCD monitor, which accepts commands like accept money and dispense Pain Puri. There's a numerical keypad to make entries and has a slot to insert currency. Once the machine confirms the receipt of the money, it will display the number of deep-fried crisp crepe that will be dispensed.

Pani puri dispenser, Pani puri machine, MIT students
Anuskha Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan having pani puri.Facebook

Once that's done, there's a dedicated output to give put the Pani Puri one by one. There's also a tiny display where the number of remaining "puris" are shown. The overall execution of how Pani Puris are automatically handed out without anyone human intervention.

The person in the video, who built the machine, said it took six months to fully develop it. It's not clear how soon we could see these machines in every corner of the street, but it is probably not anytime soon.