Swap-O-Matic is a vending machine for trading your stuff


February 2, 2012

Inventor Lina Fenequito with the Swap-O-Matic

Inventor Lina Fenequito with the Swap-O-Matic

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How many times have you heard someone lament "We live in a throw-away society"? Certainly, the world would no doubt be a better place if people threw less items in the garbage, and reused products more. Well, that's what Brooklyn designer Lina Fenequito is trying to encourage with her Swap-O-Matic vending machine. Instead of dispensing mass-produced snacks with wrappers that end up in landfills, it plunks out second-hand belongings that need a new owner.

The one-off machine has several compartments containing whatever its users have placed inside, and a touchscreen interface. Instead of money, however, users get items using credits. Everyone starts out with three free credits, then earn one more each time they donate something to the machine. In order to receive something, they must spend one credit. They also have the option of simply swapping an item of their own for one already in the machine, in which case no credits are spent or given.

Although the system could quite obviously be misused by unscrupulous types, there is at least one safeguard - users must enter their email to access their account, and will be flagged for wrongdoings. Practical considerations aside, however, the machine is more about making a statement than anything else.

"Initially, the Swap-O-Matic is intended to inspire all of us to rethink our consumption habits, and consider more sustainable methods such as trading and reusing goods," Fenequito told us. "On a much larger scale, the ultimate goal is for the Swap-O-Matic to inspire a movement, affecting change for large numbers of people and communities."

The one and only Swap-O-Matic has been stationed at various locations around New York City, and continues to roam the five boroughs. Lina plans on making more machines, which she would like to see placed across the U.S. and possibly even throughout the world.

More information is available in the video below.

Source: Springwise

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Seems small enough for a kitten, or puppy. Awwwww !!!

Too small for an EX-boy, or girlfriend though.


What about this: You put an item you want to swap in the machine. If someone wants to trade with you they then put their item in the machine also. The person that put the item in then enters the trade into the machine. Example. Machine Box 12 for Box 18. The machine then takes a picture of what is in Box 18 and emails it to the owner of Box 12. If 12 likes what is in Box 18 then the owner of Box 12 enters a code to open Box 12. Or the owner can send an email to the owner of box 18 with the code to open box 12.

Dana Lawton

It would be interesting to put a time lapse camera in front of one of these and watch the trading that goes on over a several hour or even several day period.

Gene Jordan

Yeah, call me a fossil of a bygone age, but I still prefer to sell my stuff the 'old fashion way - on eBay.


Some good observations/ideas in the comments. This is a nice proof-of-concept for something that could go VERY deep.

Thierry Phillips

In Glasgow (scotland) we just put it outside and... ZAP! it disappears. You don\'t need a machine, just live near some poor people.

Dirk Scott
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