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Chinese School Forces Students To Wear Attention-Detecting Headbands

The future is here and it’s…alarming

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Nothing was more embarrassing than when you were happily daydreaming in your grade-school classroom only to have your teacher call you out and ask if you were paying attention. You meekly answer “yes.” The teacher would inevitably follow up with, “So can you tell me what we were just talking about?” We all know what happens after that. As if those types of exchanges weren’t shameful enough, several schools in China are aiming to combat this absentmindedness behavior by forcing students to wear headbands that will detect who is or is not paying attention. Yeah…wow.

A top primary school located in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China is one of the first institutions to try out such a device. BrainCo Inc., a startup founded at Harvard University, developed the headbands, which are complete with brainwave-reading technology. The company claims it is “dedicated to developing Brain Machine Interface technology with a focus on big data and brain science.”

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Chinese students donned the Focus 1 – BrainCo’s flagship product. The device detects and quantifies students’ attention levels. The headbands pair with a portal called Focus EDU, which acts as an analytical feedback system and produces reports of who is paying attention. Teachers can evaluate which student wears which headband, assess who’s focused, and then make real-time adjustments to their classroom atmosphere.

Is this even legal? We’re not sure. We do know that if the Focus 1 found its way into US classrooms, there would be an angry uproar. What’s next, full-on helmets to see if students are actually absorbing any of this information? Yikes.

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