Drones have been used to spot cheaters during exam time. Interestingly, the eyes in the sky weren’t looking for hidden scribbles or notes, but radio waves.
From covering weddings and delivering parcels to rescue operations and from television to planting trees, drones have been deployed for multiple purposes. These miniature flying devices are rapidly heading towards mainstream adoption. However, these autonomous flying machines have been deployed for spotting students who are trying to cheat in the exam room, or in case of China, an open-air exam hall.
An anti-cheating drone was recently used in the province of Luoyang. Though the drones are equipped with digital imaging, these drones weren’t trying to find students who were using primitive techniques like notes and scribbles to copy. Students in China, just like elsewhere, have evolved to use technology to their advantage. Hence, the drones were deployed to “sniff out” radio waves, the telltale signs of modern technology being used to cheat.
Apparently, desperate students today rely on hidden earpieces that enable them to hear the correct answers which are fed to them from the other side of the fence. The standard six-propeller miniature drone is set to fly in pre-defined pattern 500 meters above the exam hall. The drone has the ability to create a “dragnet” that continually scans for radio waves. If patterns are observed, the drone isolates the offender. The cheater is then physically inspected for any cheating devices.
With a range of a kilometer, the drone can be safely operated by exam invigilators from the comfort of their offices via a tablet app. Besides maneuvering the drone, staff can also investigate suspicious radio waves and confirm their suspicions of attempts to cheat long before they approach the student. Officials are hoping such advanced technology will dissuade students from being creative during exams and study hard instead.
The exams, during which the drones were deployed, are no ordinary tests in China. Referred to as a “gaokao” exam, it consists of written tests that are spread over a two-day period. The exam governs the progress of the student into a reputable university and then onwards to a rewarding and stable career. In other words, the gaokao exam pretty much influences the entire life of a Chinese student. It’s no wonder then students have attempted multiple techniques like hiring intelligent impersonators to take the exam for them. Some of the students were caught using smart glasses too.
Though it makes sense to deploy drones to spot cheaters, this begs the question – should exams be so stressful?
[Image Credit | Getty Images, AFP]