Over recent years, vending machines have shed their reputation as dispensers of sugary drinks and snacks: we have seen them used to provide a huge variety of products on-demand, from fresh salads to electric cars to 25c crack pipes. Now, at Drexel University, in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia, they are being used to loan iPads to students and local residents.
The University had previously run a similar scheme, hiring out MacBooks for 24-hour student use, but now their library kiosks have been updated to enable users to take out and return iPads pre-equipped with useful apps, for a maximum of four hours. Users simply swipe their Drexel ID or Free Library card and an iPad will be deposited. The pre-loaded apps include Browzine, Hoopla digital, Overdrive and Zinio: tools specifically chosen to assist with digital literacy for all ages.
Users can download any additional software they need via the app store and all data is automatically erased once the device is returned. Are there other innovative ways to loan out necessary tech to users on a short-term basis?