Winthrop University eyes Iris ID access control system

July 11, 2013 - 

South Carolina’s Winthrop University is set to roll out an iris recognition access control system on its campus. The technology for which comes from New Jersey-based Iris ID.

According to a report in, more than 1500 students and staff have enrolled so far for the new system which intends to replace magnetic stripe cards. The system is set to go live doing orientation this summer.

As CNN Money aptly notes, “kids lose their school IDs but they don’t often lose their eyeballs.”

According to Winthrop’s Director of User Support Services, Patrice Bruneau, the idea to implement the system widely across the school campus came after a successful deployment at an on-site daycare center. Apparently, other modalities were considered, though the spread of germs posed by systems which require a physical touch, led the school to test the Iris ID system.

The scanners are expected to cost roughly $2,000 more than existing magnetic stripe readers, as WRHI reports.

Adoption of biometric systems, particularly the touchless ones, has been growing, though schools have proven to be a hotbed for controversy regarding biometric deployments. recently investigated the debate around biometrics in schools, in particular, for cafeteria payment systems. 

Reported previously, confusion around parental consent and the completion of a contract has prevented Stanley Convergent Security Solutions from deploying an iris-scanning pilot project for the Polk County School District in Florida.

It has also been reported that starting in September 2013, schools in England will be banned from collection students’ biometric data without parental consent.

Also reported previously in, the Carroll County Public School Board in Maryland has halted the implementation of Fujitsu palm scanners within the school district, and a recently proposed bill threatens the collection of biometrics from school children in the state altogether.  


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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj