PHILADELPHIA -- Drexel University students can now borrow a MacBook dispensed from a vending machine at a campus library to work on projects and assignments during the late-night hours after staffed services close.
The kiosk holds up to a dozen 15" MacBooks, available to students around the clock on a first-come, first-served basis. To access the vending machine, students use their university ID cards; they must remain in the library while using the MacBooks, which are equipped with security sensors. The laptops are lent for five hours, and borrowers will incur a late fee of $5 an hour if they don't return it through a slot in the machine on time. The laptop batteries are charged inside the machine and their hard drives are wiped clean between uses.
The idea for the machine came from a student who was hesitant to carry his personal laptop to and from the school library from his off-campus residence late at night because he found it burdensome and felt it made him a target for thieves.
Drexel's administrators partnered with Dallas-based Laptops Anytime to offer the automated solution. Drexel is reportedly the third university on the East Coast to introduce the kiosk.
The university said it will evaluate the use of the vending machine and results to determine if additional kiosks should be added in other libraries or other locations around the campus. Administrators are also considering iPads for future kiosks.