Our dream is to make a web interface like the one in Yu Jiang Tham's Bar Mixvah:
This should satisfy the Hackaday Prize requirements for connectedness. However, I've only ever programmed in Matlab and Arduino, and the MEAN stack is quite intimidating. Hopefully we can make this work by mostly using Yu Jiang's interface and back end. It's all there on his blog. We met Yu Jiang at Startup Reykjavik 2014, so we might be able to get some tips from him when we run into trouble.
It takes some trouble to get all this software running on a Raspberry Pi, and I'm currently stuck at installing MongoDB. It even took me days just to get Raspbian running on the machine because NOOBS wasn't able to install it. In the beginning we should probably skip the fancy tablet ordering and just use the numpad right on the machine. Just get it making doughnuts, right?
Another aspect of connectedness is using SSH to access the Raspberry Pi. That way you can reprogram the vending machine from any computer.
The third aspect of connectedness is getting push notifications when supplies run out or something goes wrong with the machine. There's no rush to figure out how to do that because this prototype is just a proof of concept and probably won't be used as a commercial vending machine. We'll be around when things go wrong.