St. Petersburg, Florida - Lunch time is precious time to students "Talk to friends, time to eat," says 18 year-old Northeast High School student Alex Strayhorn.
Middle and high school students in Pinellas are the first students in the nation to use palm scanning technology to pay for lunch. "Their name comes up, we hit ok and are able to ring in their lunch. They're out the door it, makes it a lot more efficient and faster," explains Suzi June, cafeteria manager at Northeast High School.
Cafeteria workers will spend the week registering students. The program is voluntary. The palm scanning technology uses infrared light to read each student's unique vein pattern and ties it to their meal. "It's fast it works. People get in and out of line get their lunch quicker," says Alex.
Before the palm scanning technology Pinellas students used finger imaging to identify their lunch accounts. But cafeteria workers say that system wasn't reliable. Alex says, "There'd be sweat on your finger smudge the lens this one put your hand over the thing and it scans your hand."
By the end of the week students should be registered. "Once the first few days are over these lines are going to fly," says June.
School district employees are able to use the palm scanning technology too. Later this school year, cafeteria workers will clock in and out using palm scanners.
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