Some schools in China are dressing their students in smart uniforms so that they can track their whereabouts using GPS. Developed by local tech firm Guizhou Guanyu Technology, the uniform prevents students from skipping class and ensures their safety, so they don’t go missing. Chips are installed in the student’s clothing and the technology also paired with facial recognition, which means students are not able to swap jackets, for example.
Smart uniforms are also durable, able to withstand up to 500 washes and temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius.
Smart or disturbing?
This has sparked a debate amidst the Chinese media, with one Weibo user describing the new tech as “horrifying”. Not only do alarms go off when a student strays out of campus but the uniform is also able to track the student’s whereabouts outside school hours. People are skeptical about the company’s respect for privacy, which further adds to the Communist party’s goal to normalise surveillance.
China is pushing to create “smart campuses” and digitize education. Being a leader in surveillance technology, China is already advanced in facial recognition and can even identify individuals with their backs turned by the way they walk.