Wednesday, May 23, 2007

School lunch vending machines: tracking so much more

From cnet:

"Instead of standing in one of eight long lunch lines during a 30-minute break, students at Sebastian River can walk up to one of the refrigerated vending machines, punch in a PIN code and student ID number, and buy milk, a bag of sliced carrots and a turkey sandwich, among other options. The machine prompts students to make choices that complete a balanced diet under guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which officially approved the machines for use in schools on January 22. The school also calls the machines "healthy" because they don't sell carbonated soft drinks or fried and sugary snacks. "
The machine keeps track of prepaid accounts for students, and keeps track of disbursements to low income kids and the 'free lunch program' so that schools can be later reimbursed by the government.

Parents can log in online to MealPayPlus to see what and when their child ate during the day, and to add money to the account.

The machine also has a camera so they can take pics of who is actually purchasing the meal to prevent bullies from stealing PINs and IDs.

So much for the lunch lady.

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