Students at a medical college in Thailand have been caught using spy cameras linked to smartwatches to cheat during exams. They used wireless spycams in eyeglasses to capture exam questions, transmit them to associates elsewhere and receive responses through linked smartwatches.
But the entrance exam in question was cancelled after the plot was discovered and Arthit Ourairat, the rector of Rangsit University, posted pictures of the hi-tech cheating equipment on his Facebook page.
The cheating attempt has already been compared to Hollywood’s classic spy dramas but it shows how easily such high-tech devices are available to those who seek to gain an unfair advantage in educational pursuits.
Unfortunately, it’s a problem that will only get worse when devices such as smartglasses become cheaper and more readily available.
Smartglasses such as Google Glass have the capability to take photos, send information and also display information on the lens itself, eliminating the need to connect to a smartwatch.
It was around this time last year that universities globally started banning, or at least exploring a ban on, smartwatches in exams.
Smartwatches are considered an aid to cheating in exams because they give easy access to stored text and images, language translation, mathematical calculations and internet access.
Subsequent bans on smartwatches were also introduced by school boards for Year 12 exams in Australia.
But a blanket ban on all watches – traditional or smart – could be on the horizon, especially because it is difficult and impractical for exam invigilators to differentiate between the two in an exam environment.
It’s not just smartwatches we need to worry about. A plethora of hi-tech cheating gadgets exist that would also not look out of place in a James Bond or Mission Impossible film.
These are devices such as special glasses with a built-in transmitter and a separate wireless earpiece, aimed at establishing a two-way secretive audio communication between people during exams.