A headband that claims to monitor children’s brainwaves in order to improve their focus is available for purchase in China, aimed at “Tiger” mothers and fathers who’ll do everything to help their children succeed. But many of its target customers are already creeped out.
The Focus1, or Fu Si, headband, from US-based startup BrainCo, claims it can measure how closely students are paying attention through electrodes that detect electrical activity in kids’ brains and send the data to teachers’ computers or to a mobile app. A light on the headband that gleams red, yellow or blue, also purports to signal how engaged a child is with the task at hand — with red being the highest level of attention. The product already provoked unease in April, when photos and footage of primary school students in one Chinese province wearing the product started to circulate widely online. Now the product is retailing for about 3,200 to 14,000 yuan (about $450-$2000) on the country’s biggest e-commerce sites.
As you know, “big data” is intertwining itself in every aspect of our lives for the purpose of improving it — of course. Now our kids will have to face the consequences of not actively paying attention in class and potentially being reprimanded if they don’t meet the school’s or professor’s threshold. Not unlike a cattle prod… an in-built and automated taser could increase the efficiency of the user-base in an education or employment scenario. Because, what extreme won’t the technocrats go to? Present the right carrot and people will comply. Be it more opportunities, advancement, or money.
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