In this university’s laptop vending machine, the MacBooks are free

Drexel University's MacBook vending machine. (Drexel University/Drexel University)

Philadelphia’s Drexel University has installed a MacBook vending machine in the university library. The kiosk dispenses MacBooks free of charge to Drexel students, staff, and faculty, who can use the machines for up to five hours at a time.

The goal is simply to help students get better, safer access to technology.

“We installed it in late December,” Niki Gianakaris, Drexel’s media relations director, told me. “Students didn’t want to carry their laptops to the libary late at night.”

To get a MacBook, students simply walk up to the vending machine, sign in with their student card, and receive a laptop.  The vending machine holds 12 notebooks, and I’m guessing it’s generally empty.

For now it’s a demo project with single vending machine, but it could grow over time.

“This is obviously going to be very popular,” Gianakaris said. “We’ll evaluate their use and, depending on the results determine how many more we can install.”

The first kiosk is in the library, but the university is considering other potential locations around campus. Two other universities are also trying the laptop lending program, Drexel said on its blog.

If the program is popular, iPads are next up on the list to be considered, Gianakaris added. I don’t think venturing out on any limbs is needed to predict that it will be.

Image credit: Drexel University. Hat tip: Hacker News

 Copyright 2013, VentureBeat



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