UK school to use eye scanner to charge for lunches

A new school in Sunderland, U.K., plans to use a retina scanning device to charge students for lunches in an attempt to make the school "cashless" and protect poor children who receive free food from being bullied and ridiculed by other children in the cafeteria.

When the Venerable Bede school opens its doors to 900 students in September, scanners with eye-recognition software supplied by CRB Solutions of Edinburgh will be installed to "charge" students for food in the cafeteria and to track when students take out and return books in the library, Ed Yates, the school's headmaster said Friday.

"The scanners are comparable with other biometric devices such as fingerprints but have a time cost saving as there are no repeat purchases such as cards," Yates said in an e-mail response to questions.

The school decided to look into the technology because of concern that children who receive free food from the school will be stigmatized.

The scanners will be safe for students as they will be subjected only to low-intensity light, he said.