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Instrument vending machine

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Mikko S Kiviranta, Dec 11, 2006.

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  1. Dear colleagues,

    The items you need in everyday engineering work are getting smaller
    and smaller and its getting more and more difficult to locate them
    on the lab tables. And I'm getting tired on going around among my 20-or-so
    co-workers and asking whether they have taken or seen the active scope
    probes, or U.FL-SMA adapters or this and that. Now, it would be nice to have
    something like a sandwitch vending machine; you know, the device with
    a set of lids which can be opened after inserting the proper amount of
    coins. The scope probes, for instance, would remain under the lid until
    the engineer Joe Smith comes and opens the lid with his company ID
    card. The next guy who arrives and finds the compartment empty could
    then inquiry the machine and find out that the lid was opened last time
    by Joe, so that he can immediately charge to Joe's throat.

    Its unlikely that such a vending machine would be available for the
    whole variety of the company ID card styles in existence, but a PIN code
    could serve the same purpose. Each user would have a personal key code which
    he/she must key in to the machine in order to open the lid. I'm pretty
    sure that a manufacturer of such devices must exist among the obscure
    backyard companies somewhere on this planet. I wonder if any of you has
    heard about such a gadget? RFID tracking is not practical for this purpose
    (I think).

  2. : something like a sandwitch vending machine; you know, the device with

    I mean 'sandwich', sandwitches are something weird and
    a vending machine for them even weirder.
  3. I recently saw a vending machine for small items such as end mills. It
    looked similar to the type of vending machine that has horizontal
    spiral coils that rotate to release the product. In this case, the
    items were held in paper envelopes. The front was metal. It had a
    bar-code scanner-- presumably for the user and the item code. This was
    at a bankruptcy sale of a high-end moldmaking shop, and I didn't note
    the manufacturer, sorry.

    Best regards,
    Spehro Pefhany
  4. Ban

    Ban Guest

    Do you have any communication problem with your colleagues? I think your
    idea will not make you much more popular.
    It's the business of the R&D manager to organize how to distribute
    instruments, tools and other resources. You have to find a balance between
    creative chaos and restrictive order.
    Disciplining others OTOH is an ugly interest.
  5. Hospitals have machines that do just that for pills-- the nurses have
    to enter the correct codes to get the bins to open. Makes it easier to
    tell who's taking what. Probably more expensive than just buying a
    few more scope probes though.
  6. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    These are all great ideas, except none of them makes a provision for when
    the person _returns_ the item.

    Maybe tag each item with a little bar code tag or something?

    Or stop hiring people who take stuff and don't return it?

    Good Luck!
  7. Zimmy

    Zimmy Guest

    A much simpler and cheaper solution (if you have an old PC available). Point
    a webcam towards the storage shelves so that you can see whose taking out
    what. Run a program like Active webcam with motion detection. This will
    record a clip any time someone takes or returns something.

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