Feds Creating Facial Recognition App to Make Sure Kids Don’t Skip Class

The federal government is financing the development of a smartphone app that will use facial recognition technology to check attendance in college classrooms.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $50,000 to Missouri University on Jan. 2 for the project that will record videos to create “face tracklets” of students.

The project is necessary, the grant argues, because checking attendance the old fashioned way is too hard.

“Checking attendance in scenarios such as classrooms commonly needs an instructor to recognize each student one by one by reading the names on a roster or ask students to sign up the attendance sheet,” the grant explains. “However, this traditional method faces two problems: reading students’ names may occupy minutes of lecture time when the number of students is large and letting students to sign up an attendance sheet is prone to be cheated since they can sign their own names and their classmates’ names who are absent in the class.”

“It is not a desirable task for instructors to calculate the total attendance of every student in a semester by going through every attendance sheet manually,” the grant added.