Those responsible for the park surrounding the Temple of Heaven, one of Beijing’s main historic buildings, launched a new facial recognition system to combat the theft of toilet paper. For three years their officials had attempted to fight mass robbery Of paper with systems of fingerprints and laser sensors until last weekend they opted for the facial recognition.
«Welcome, please advance to the reconnaissance zone,» said a robotic voice at the entrance of the baths, used mostly by elderly people who come every day to this huge park to exercise.
After placing inside a yellow square painted on the floor and seeing its face reflected in a screen, the machine distributes 60 centimeters of toilet paper, not one more nor one less.
So far, many people have taken whole rolls of toilet paper hidden in bags that they then took out of the park.
«It’s pretty good as long as we get enough paper,» said Pu Meilang, 68, who often walks through the park. «It frustrates those who do not follow the rules,» he added.
«At first, it seems strange,» acknowledged Lei Zhenshan, a marketing manager for Shoulian Zhineng, the Tianjin company that manufactures the paper distributor machine.
«But we realized that the level of waste was quite serious and we decided to adopt a technology strategy to correct the behavior of people,» he added.