Even as recently as a decade ago, the full reach of the “smart” revolution that we’re currently in the middle of was still largely unthinkable. Sure, we knew that things like smart thermostats or blinds that automatically open and close based on the time of day were on the horizon. Few probably could have predicted that this “smart” trend would have extended to the clothing we wear — or the implications that this small-yet-meaningful change to our daily lives would bring with it.

GPS tracking systemTake the Apple Watch, for example. In addition to providing something of a “bird’s-eye view” over your own personal health, people are using it to do just about everything you can think of — including sharing health information with doctors and other medical professionals over the internet. By now, it’s clear that “smart” clothing is here to stay — as schools in China have already gone a long way toward proving. Many educational institutions in that country have begun to use “smart uniforms” with computer chips inside to not only monitor students’ movements, but to prevent them from skipping class as well.

China’s Take on the “Smart” Revolution

Right now, 11 schools in the province of Guizhou in China have introduced these internet-connected, tech-driven uniforms for their students — and more are expected to do so in the not-too-distant future. These particular uniforms were developed by Guizhou Guanyu technology, a local tech firm based in the area.

On the surface, they’re not too dissimilar from any other uniform that a student may be required to wear. In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t think there was anything unique about them at all at first glance. However, as students enter their school, the time and date is recorded — along with a short video — that parents can access via an associated mobile app.

Not only that, but facial recognition technology is used to make sure that each uniform is actually being worn by the student it was issued to. This is said to have gone a long way toward preventing students from gaming the system. If a student remains in class all day and follows their schedule as they’re supposed to, nothing actually happens.

Geo technology is used to make sure that if a student skips class, however, an alarm will be triggered to inform both parents and teachers that something is going on. If that student is actually daring enough to leave school grounds, a voice alarm activates to make sure that everyone around them knows what is going on.

Interestingly, the GPS tracking system contained inside the uniform is so powerful that it can still track a student’s movements even if they leave school grounds. Before and after school, the system is supposed to disengage — meaning that students can roam freely and do whatever they want.

The uniforms work thanks to two unique computer chips, one inserted into each of the uniform’s shoulders. Fascinatingly, they’re not supposed to be removed at all. They not only can withstand up to 500 trips through the washing machine before they need to be replaced, but they also can survive extreme temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius.

The uniforms are capable of informing teachers if other events take place, too. If a student falls asleep during class, for example, that same alarm will go off. Parents can also use the video feed to monitor any purchases that their kids are making during school hours and can even set spending limits as they choose.

While this is certainly amazing and indicative of the incredible times we’re living in, privacy advocates naturally say that it’s a cause for concern, too. However, with truancy rates dropping, it’s hard to argue that these uniforms aren’t working as intended. One thing is for sure: This is a decidedly unique fashion trend that a lot of schools all over the world are going to be paying close attention to moving forward.