Tool Access Kiosks: A Design Conjecture

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There comes a point in many people’s lives where they begin to need a basic power drill, a set of wrenches, or even a jigsaw for the occasional odd job. New homeowners, a college grad entering a new lease, or a retiree looking to do their own home upkeep are all alike in that they will need a tool they don’t have at some point. When this happens, they may ask a neighbor, order online and wait for shipping, or drive up to the local home improvement store to buy it outright. Purchasing can be costly, online ordering can be inconvenient, and finding someone with the tool you need, let alone convincing them to let you use it, is a game of luck. In addition to those limiting factors, one must consider the environmental impact that comes with purchasing something you may only use once a year, or placing that next day shipping order to get what you need when you need it. A local tool share membership kiosk found in any nearby target or home improvement store, would allow its users to purchase a low cost annual membership; similar to an amazon prime subscription, enabling them to check out the tool they need for a weekend, and return it when they’re finished. This would allow a member to partake in a shared economy model tool system that provides access to high quality tools that would otherwise be expensive to purchase, bulky to store and a pain to maintain. The sustainability of the shared economy model combined with the convenience of the subscription model, make for a system that looks to a future of more communal, ecologically conscious consumer behavior. The challenges of this model, however, are the influences of the pandemic and the limitations with regards to customer trust for safety, leaving the home and sharing physical touch points amidst a time where people are extremely cautious to do so.

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