Innovation That Matters

In Brazil, locator chips in uniforms detect if kids are in school

Fashion & Beauty

The Brazilian city of Vitoria da Conquista is introducing student uniforms fitted with radio tags, as part of a system that will automatically text parents with the whereabouts of their child.

We’ve seen RFID technology used to protect children on farms in the past, and now we’re seeing that same technology being used to keep track of school children too. The Brazilian city of Vitoria da Conquista is introducing radio tags on the clothes of students in order to tackle the problem of truancy among younger citizens. According to the Associated Press, some 20,000 pupils across 213 schools in the city have been targeted by the initiative, with that figure set to grow to 43,000 – 100 percent of its students aged four to 14 – by 2013. The children will be given t-shirts with locator microchips embedded in them that will detect if they are within the vicinity of their school at the start of the day. If they are, parents will be sent a text message notifying them of their arrival, and if not they will be updated after 20 minutes of classes starting that their child is not in school. Vitoria da Conquista secretary Coriolano Moraes explained that the scheme aims to cut the number of truants in the city: “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.” The city has invested USD 670,000 to design, test and produce the tagged shirts. While it seems to be a fail-proof way to ensure that parents know if their children are in school or not, there may naturally be concerns about privacy. The potential to adapt this idea into other sectors however — to keep track of employees for example — is enormous. An idea to bring into your school or institution? Spotted by: Parul Rohatgi



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