Uniform computer chips track student locations

Uniform computer chips track student locations

Summary: School uniforms just got interesting.


This week, over 20,000 grade-school students in Brazil have been wearing a rather special kind of school uniform -- embedded with location-tracking chips.

In the the northeastern city of Vitoria da Conquista, students from some of the city's 213 public schools have all begun wearing t-shirts with the special radio frequency chips embedded in the material. These 'smart uniforms' tell a parent when their child has entered school by sending a message to their mobile phone.

However, if the student has not arrived and entered class 20 minutes after school starts, then the parent is alerted with the following message: "Your child has still not arrived at school".

According to the city's education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, the aim of these uniforms is to tackle the issues of 'bunking' class and non-attendance. He added that by 2013, all of the city's 43,000 public school students will be using these 'smart uniforms'. The students will all be between 4 and 14 years old.

In a telephone interview, Moraes said:

"We noticed that many parents would bring their children to school but would not see if they actually entered the building because they always left in a hurry to get to work on time. They would always be surprised when told of the number times their children skipped class."

If a student skips class three times, the parents will be asked to explain the absence -- and a 'lack of knowledge' now can no longer be used as an excuse. If there is no explanation, then authorities may become involved.

The city government of Vitoria da Conquista invested $670,000 in order to design, test and manufactured the t-shirts. The chips are placed underneath the school's coat-of-arms -- the traditional design found on many uniforms in the West -- or on one of the sleeves.

If placed on a sleeve, the chip can be found below a phrase that says:

"Education does not transform the world. Education changes people and people transform the world."

According to the education secretary, the uniform has been designed so it can be washed and ironed without damaging the 'smart' component. Furthermore, although without detail, the chips apparently have a security system "that makes tampering virtually impossible".

Image credit: James Emery


Topics: Networking, CXO, Hardware, Processors

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  • How many layers can you wear?

    Now students who want to skip class will have to pay a fellow student to wear more than one shirt! Looks like a money making opportunity for students who want to attend. ;)
    • Easier way

      Just take off your shirt.
      • And stuff it in the back pack

        of another student that is attending school that day.
    • layers

    • Hmm...

      School administrators looking at attendance logs: "We need to talk to the students about safety. According to these logs, we have more than 50 students squeezing through the door at one time."
  • Overkill

    The customary low tech method is for teachers to take roll and then have the office call the parents if the student is not in attendence.
    John L. Ries
    • Agreed

      Agreed. Just as effective, and far less controversial. You can smell the controversy already from having tracking devices in school uniforms.
    • You could even make this approach high tech

      The teacher takes roll on her computer terminal and as soon as a student is marked absent, the office is notified.
      John L. Ries
  • A much cheaper option

    Surely a much cheaper option would be to give the parents a big stick, so they could beat their children every time they hear they missed school?
    Will T
  • Spend Money

    Even if in Brazil Just another way to spend taxpayer money.. So next year they can holler for mo money, mo money, mo money. I notice the school systems will never have enough money regardless of how much they get..and will never have.. regardless of the amount they get they'll want more..!
    • They want more

      Due to the rising costs of materials, books, maintenance on buildings, and raises for the teachers as well as new tech that would help in the classroom. Did you put even a bit of thought into your post? Did you actually read what you wrote?
  • RFID companies have answered many proposals to US schools

    to do exactly the same thing. Most are embedded in student ID cards, which must now be worn visibly in many schools. There are three purposes often cited: attendance tracking, emergency location services, and traffic pattern analysis. Some of these functions have been applied in corporate settings for years, especially in high security locations or hazardous environments like semiconductor fabs and chemical plants.

    More and more schools are being designed with security and safety considerations in mind, and RFID tracking with well-situated checkpoints are starting to play into those designs. If they help keep kids safe and out of trouble, then it gets my vote.
    terry flores
  • Not sure

    Doesn't sound like this is a tracking chip. Just an RFID tag that triggers a counter when the student passes through the detector. I doubt it has any GPS based geolocation capability.
    • RFID chips *are* tracking chips.

      Warehouses use RFID chips to track goods and vehicle movements throughout the building at a fine level of detail. Secure facilities also use them to track people moving between rooms and floors. The technology to do it is 20 years old. The sensors located in halls and stairways are sophisticated enough to be able to read dozens of students passing by in just a couple of seconds. No batteries or GPS required ...
      terry flores
  • Cool

    Those are cool
  • technology

    This technology must be more affordable than I thought. Is it available to consumers at a reasonable price for childrens clothing?
  • Los Angeles Datacenter

    Nice Idea..Implement this for all of our student in universe..not only in Brazil..
    Los Angeles Datacenter