A high school in China is now using face scanning technology to assess whether students are paying attention.
Provided by Hangzhou-based Hikvision Digital Technology, the system operates via three cameras mounted above a blackboard. The system is designed to look for signs of different emotional states including happy, sad, angry, surprised, and a neutral state, and to use that information to determine whether a given student is attentive to the lesson at hand. These assessments are delivered to the teacher via digital notifications.
This certainly isn’t the first facial biometrics technology designed for this application, but its implementation in Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School may represent one of the first real-world deployments. It has been in use for over a month now, and the school’s vice principal tells Reuters that it has improved student behavior, though the system has also prompted expressions of alarm on Chinese social media.
Facial recognition technology is much more common in China than it is elsewhere in the world, with government authorities applying it extensively for security purposes, ranging from automated surveillance systems designed to catch jaywalkers to smartglasses allowing police to identify fugitives in real time. Hangzhou No. 11 Middle School’s purposes are unrelated to law enforcement, of course, but its use of the technology appears to reflect a growing cultural familiarity with face-based surveillance systems in China.
May 21, 2018 – by Alex Perala