James Bond would feel right at home if his kid were enrolled in the Freehold Borough School District in New Jersey. He would have the authorization to come on campus, but would have to register with the district's iris recognition security and visitor management system. He would have to provide his driver's license and submit to an eye scan. If the image camera recognizes him as the real deal, the door would click open.
With funding from the Department of Justice, the New Jersey school district launched its cutting-edge, high-tech security system earlier this year, in part to study the system's effectiveness, reports ABC News.
"This is all part of a larger emphasis, here in New Jersey, on school safety," [district superintendent Phil Meara, pictured] said. "We chose this school because we were looking for a typical slightly urban school to launch the system." says Phil Meara, Freehold's superintendent
This type of security device is used in airports and some hotels and is known as Clear. Rather than going through lengthy security checks, subscribers pay $79.95 for the convienence of an iris scan. The program has 12,000 subscribers.
Critics say iris scans are not fool-proof, are expensive and invasive. They misread a small percentage due to watery eyes and even, long eyelashes and must scan from a close distance for accuracy. The cost varies from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
The New Jersey district pilot program came with a hefty price tag. The district applied for a $369,000 grant and had the eye scanners installed in two grammar schools and one middle school.
"The price tag was high really due to the research and program development," Meara said. "We're all aware that at that price, this system couldn't be duplicated at other schools. But most of the money was paid for the development. So my prediction is that in the future, the price of this system will be much lower."
"Biometrics is the wave of the future," Meara said. "Everything I've heard is that there will be a tremendous emphasis on making schools as safe as possible. If our school process [shows] that this system works, yes, it might just take off."