Getting children safely to and from school is seemingly no easy feat these days, and some local governments in Japan are prepared to make full use of available technology to ensure that students are kept safely out of harm’s way.

Earlier this week the Chuo Elementary School in Osaka’s Chuo district started using vending machines as a way to keep an eye out for children getting to school. Vending machines that sell everything from soft drinks to magazines are common enough across Japan’s urban districts, and the machines around the Osaka public elementary school have been equipped with big gray sensors on top.

Those sensors are able to read the integrated circuit chip tags the size of a business card that have been planted into the backpacks of about 100 students who have volunteered to take part in the experiment that will run until March 20.

In launching the so-called street-corner vigilance robot, Osaka prefecture’s governor Fusae Ota said, “There is no such thing as absolute safety. By supplementing the robot in addition to vigilance by members of the local community, we want to ensure safety by twofold or threefold.”

At least in Japan it’s less likely someone would steal the robots.

  1. david says:

    A couple of things about Japanese culture that I saw when I was there. They are shockingly civil! While crossing streets there I would notice that there were no cars heading toward the crosswalk but the Japanese will not J-walk. They wait for the light to change regardless of whether it is clear or not. They obey lights, period. Second thing I noticed was that kids as young as 6 or 7 years old take the subway by themselves to school in the morning! When I went to the mall one day near Mt. Fuji my friend’s 4 year old boy had fell asleep by the time we arrived. She left him in the vehicle by himself as we went shopping for 30 minutes with her other two kids. In the U.S. this would probably get her arrested, but in Japan it is common practice.

  2. Paul says:

    I can just imagine Robocop with a School Crossing sign!

  3. Don Smith says:

    Great idea. Hope it works.

    Comment on Comment #1…. And and kids die every year in Japan when thier stupid parents leave thier kids in the car when the parents go to the pachinko hall. Leagal or not, it’s still idiotic.


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