‘Biometric Classroom’ Monitors Students’ Eye Movements And Conversations

Mikael Thalen
September 19th, 2013
Updated 09/19/2013 at 10:20 am

A report from Yahoo News Tuesday detailed a group of New York engineers who are developing a “biometric classroom” monitoring program that will track students every move.

The report reads: “Students listen up! If you are used to passing notes, tapping out texts or even sneaking in quick conversations when you’re supposed to be working on fractions…beware! Those kinds of activities could be a thing of the past – or at the very least, closely monitored – in the biometric classroom of the future.”

Sean Montgomery, co-founder and engineer for SensorStar Labs, says tracking students’ eye movements, conversations and smiles with “EngageSense” cameras will help teachers improve classroom learning. Algorithms in the program will crunch the raw visual and audio data to give teachers detailed information on students’ actions. Teachers will then be advised on how to better engage students.

“When the student is looking up at the teacher, the teacher score goes up. If she looks down at the computer, the computer score goes up. So we’re tracking facial expressions. If she makes a smile, it might be indicative that is enthusiastic about the topic,” said Montgomery.

When asked about the privacy implications of such an intrusive technology, Montgomery defended the program by claiming that the usefulness somehow outweighed any privacy concern in typical “ends justify the means” fashion.

“I think privacy is a very serious issue that we need to consider carefully going forward and in the future but the idea here is that the information is being digested and presented in a useful way so the teacher can react and respond appropriately,” said Montgomery. “I think in five years, this is going to be in classrooms.”

Despite the endless claims of technology leading to an increased “learning” experience in the classroom, studies have found just the opposite. After spending $33 million on interactive screens, laptops and high-end software, a school district in Arizona saw no improvement in test scores as the rest of the state’s scores rose.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has poured billions into the country’s public education system by supporting Common Core as well as the research of different student monitoring technologies. Gates has already begun funding the development of “engagement pedometers,” biometric bracelets for students that send electrical currents across the skin to measure the body’s response to different stimuli. Schools all across the country have already implemented biometric fingerprint and palm scanning lunch payment systems.

Earlier this year a Florida school distract ran a “student safety pilot program” that consisted of using iris scanning devices on students. A letter to parents from the biometric company’s senior director of support services stated that the program would “identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the student boards and disembarks in the afternoon.”

A high school student in Texas was suspended just last year for refusing to wear an RFID-enabled ID badge that tracked her every move during school. After public outcry and protest from civil rights groups, the school offered to remove the badge’s chip and battery if the student stopped criticizing the policy. When the student decided to carry her old school ID, the school banned her from school functions.

While these systems by themselves could be useful in a perfect society, the government surveillance state has proven time and time again that such information will be used against the public. Apple, one of the companies deeply involved with the NSA, implemented fingerprint scanning technology into its newly released iPhone 5S, causing several security experts to point out the obvious privacy dangers.

Whether it be illegal face scanning cameras on city streets, surveillance street lights, the proposed biometric social security cards or drone surveillance, it is no longer a surprise that geniuses such as Stephen Hawking predict a future of “Killer robots and crippling cyber attacks.”


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Category: Internet Freedom, Privacy, US

Mikael Thalen

About the Author ()

Mikael is the lead features writer at Storyleak.com. His articles have been featured on sites such as the Drudge Report, Infowars and Natural News. During his time at Examiner.com, he was frequently ranked the number one political writer.

Comments (26)

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  1. james says:

    Well now govts and management are spending too much on survilence and controlling people with technology, but they are forgeting the technology is growing too fast, in near or far future, AI technology will overthrow govts and start controlling people all by itself, then all people might become slaves to AI robots. LOL

  2. ren says:

    Worse than 1984

  3. PacMan says:

    Oh no they’ll know when I stare at my teacher’s tits

  4. Jared says:

    My kids home school because they get more out of an hour at home than they would sitting eight hours in an indoctrination center being talked at and having their entrepreneurial spirits crushed… and with the added control technology, eh, no thank you.

  5. Silver Fang says:

    What a disgusting misuse of digital technology.

    • MISUSE??? REALLY? says:

      MISUSE???? MISUSE?!?!? THIS IS BECAUSE U DONT WANT PEOPLE TO SEE WHAT U DO. IF U DONT WANT IT TO BE SEEN THEN U SHOULDNT BE DOING IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Natali_78 says:

    This is very interesting I must say and I wonder what results it is going to bring. What I would do, I would make this experiment in at least a few different age groups to monitor the changes, maybe this information will somehow be used to improve the quality of education and possibly raise its level much higher than we have it at this very moment. But again, from another side it might be very useless and again tons of money will be wasted while it could be used on something else.
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  7. Roger says:

    Freedoms, except for how we walk, act, breath, look around and move.

    Wow, that was exactly what the founding fathers had in mind!



  8. @evernewecon says:

    Control freaking is the polar
    opposite of inspiration

    and equality by birthright alone.
    They cannot conceive of respect for those
    to whom the future belongs, which future,
    and from whom, they're ripping off.

    So I'm only linking something Google's Y.T.
    unit's offering for visitation.

    I noticed the full movie's av. there.

    Sometimes a society has to take a step
    backward to take two forward.
    This must be America's turn.

    At least when we're done we'll have
    expelled a lot of vomit.

    The more the demagogues promulgate
    the blame game and encourage control,
    and they blame everyone in sight but
    themselves, and wield control at every
    opportunity, the more privatized at sufferance to them
    instead of their monopoly at sufferance
    to us they'll enjoy at our burden.

  9. born awake says:

    Just who is it that fears US so much.. and why? Answer: Those who live/rule by deception. And, their time is UP – tick tock.

  10. Laura H. Chapman says:

    Just who is going to be doing this part of the surveillance system?:
    "Teachers will then be advised on how to better engage students." Will this be Bill Gates who thinks he knows all there is to know? Gates and his academic grant-getting cronies have spent millions on measuring" effective teaching." They are absolutely clueless about the complexities of teaching and learning, unless the content has easy right and wrong answers.

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  14. It is such a great effort to avoid any kind of discrimination in the classroom. This will also help to maintain the discipline in the college or university.

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  17. I SUPPORT! says:

    This is the best idea i have heard of in my entire life. I as a 6th grader of tired of other students not listening and cussing. Im tired of being copied off of. IS THERE ANY WAY I CAN POSSIBLY SUPPORT THIS?!?!?!?

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