‘Mind-reading’ headband goes on sale amid controversy in China

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/5 10:43:32

Focus1 headband  Source: BrainCo Taobao store

 Focus1, a "mind-reading" headband developed by a US-based start-up has sold more than 60 units on China's online marketplace Taobao, amid controversy that the product is unethical in preying on students' privacy.

The price of the product ranges from 3,499 to 3,979 yuan ($498-566) on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Taobao. A total of 64 have been sold, while 1,124 consumers have "liked" the product.

According to its introduction, it was developed by Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists, and can send signals to show whether the student is focused or not.

On Sina Weibo, China's microblog equivalent to Twitter, the topic "smart headband priced at nearly 4,000 yuan" became a trending topic on Tuesday morning. Many netizens have shown anger toward the so-called "innovation" as well as its high price.

A Weibo user named "Fuer Jiawa" commented, "Is this product treating schools like zoos and monitoring students like animals?"

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute, said that allowing having students wear the headbands would equate to using the students as learning machines. "It's anti-education in disguise of technological innovation," he said.

Earlier, media reports revealed that the products have been tested in two schools in Beijing and East China's Zhejiang Province.

Global Times

Posted in: SOCIETY

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