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A vending machine that delivers free MacBooks

Posting in Government

Drexel University has installed a vending machine in its library that dispenses MacBooks for free as part of an experiment aimed meeting the needs of students who burn the midnight oil.

The vending machine, or kiosk, holds up to 12 MacBooks that can be checked out free by anyone with a Drexel ID for up to five hours, the university said in a release.

There are rules, of course. Students can't leave the library with their borrowed MacBooks, which are equipped with security sensors. And students who return the machines after the five-hour limit are charged a late fee of $5 an hour.

Once the laptop is returned to the kiosk, all information on it is wiped cleaned and its battery is charged.

The vending machine experiment was launched at the behest of a student who was hesitant to carry his personal laptop to and from his off-campus residence because it was burdensome and posed a security risk. The student, who is a representative of student government, met with the dean of libraries to see if there was a way to provide laptop access late at night after staffed services closed, according to the university.

Drexel is the third university on the United States' East Coast to introduce the kiosk. And if the experiment goes well, more kiosks could be added in the libraries or around campus. Administrators are also considering iPads for future kiosk, the university said.

— By on January 11, 2013, 12:35 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure