With smartwatches and other wearables becoming more and more popular with each passing year, it was only a matter of time before a school decided to add a little technology to their students’ uniforms. Wouldn’t you know it, a Chinese school has done that with new chip-enabled “smart uniforms.”
The Chinese state-run newspaper The Global Times reports that the schools are using smart uniforms to track students and encourage better attendance among them. Of course, that sounds a little 1984, but the technology itself is pretty impressive.
The uniforms have chips in the shoulders that track the times and locations at which students enter and leave the school. There is also facial recognition software at each entrance to ensure students aren’t wearing extra uniforms so that others can get credit for being at school when they’re actually taking the day off.
The washable uniforms also allow for alarms to go off if students try to leave too early during school hours, which is something that gives off a big brother vibe, but okay. The Guizhou Guanyu Technology Company developed the uniforms, which can withstand temperatures of 302 degrees Fahrenheit and be washed about 500 times during their life spans.
This is where things get really weird. The uniforms, which are now in use in 10 schools in China’s Guizhou Province, could also be used not just to track students’ attendance, but also detect when students fall asleep in class. Students could also make payments for lunches or other items using the uniforms, especially with the schools’ facial and fingerprint recognition.
This all leads to the question: are schools also using the uniforms to track students after they’ve left the school grounds? Administrator Lin Zongwu says that that’s not the case. “We choose not to check the accurate location of students after school,” Lin said. So far, anyway.