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Drexel University unveils first ever vending machine for iPads

Forget drinks and snacks – a new vending machine installed this week at Philadelphia’s Drexel University is now dispensing iPads to students and local residents.

The university apparently viewed the machine as a vital addition to the campus’s offerings, and turned to the Free Library of Philadelphia for help to make it happen.

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Unveiled this week, the unique vending machine holds a maximum of 12 iPads, each of which can be borrowed for up to four hours for free.

Any personal data input during that time will be automatically wiped from the device when it’s returned, the university said on its blog.

Each tablet contains a variety of pre-loaded apps, which the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Siobhan A. Reardon says have been “specifically chosen to support the digital literacy needs for children, teens and adults.”

These include scholarly journal app BrowZine, Mango Languages, eBook lender OverDrive, newsstand app Zinio, and, for a bit of light relief, movies and music from on-demand streaming service Hoopla.

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It’s not the first time Drexel University has rolled out a tech-giving machine. A couple of years ago it came up with a laptop-lending kiosk offering students the free use of a MacBook Pro for several hours at a time.

“Based on the success of the laptop lending kiosk in our library, self-service technology has proven to serve as an easy, attractive option for access to items we know our library users want,” Drexel Libraries’ Danuta A. Nitecki said, adding that additional ways to share technology via such kiosks are currently being explored.