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Many Weibo user questions the new system. (Picture: Xiaoxiang Morning Post on Miaopai)

Smartphone in the shower: Chinese college wants students to scan QR codes before washing

Social media jokes that the next step for technology is the toilet

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

China loves QR codes. China loves mobile technology. But do Chinese students love mobile technology enough to scan a QR code every time they want to take a shower?

Hunan’s Changsha University of Science and Technology rolled out a new shower system, according to local media reports. It requires that users connect their phones to a smart water meter via Bluetooth. Then they have to scan a QR code before they shower, and scan again after they finish.

It’s supposed to allow the university to know how much to charge students for water. And they say it means students don’t have to juggle too many access cards. (But it also probably means they should have a waterproof phone.)

But the system was blasted by local media and Weibo users. Many on social media pointed out that their schools make students download too many different apps already, for classes, for food, and now even for showers.

“Why don’t they put one on the toilet as well?” one Weibo user says.

Many Weibo user questions the new system. (Picture: Xiaoxiang Morning Post on Miaopai)
In fairness to the schools, the push to add technology is part of the government’s push for a smart campuses, even down to assigning roommates with recommendation algorithms. Around 60,000 schools -- roughly one in every four in the country -- are trialling the use of AI software to grade student homework. Some are even installing facial recognition cameras in classrooms to analyze students’ faces... to see if they’re dozing off.

The new shower system is allowing people online to take a jab at one common problem among Chinese app makers: Gathering too much information.

One Weibo user jokes, “Does the app ask for camera access?”

High school uses facial recognition cameras to see if students are dozing off

For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.