Students will no longer need to rely on their student ID to enter a dining hall from this fall, thanks to new biometric hand scanners called Wave ID.
Food Services will install the hand scanners in all residential restaurants on campus. Anyone with a meal plan will need to register for Wave ID, eliminating the need to present a student ID at the entrance to the dining hall.
All freshmen were enrolled in Wave ID as part of the orientation process. Upper-class students, faculty, and staff with meal plans can sign up anytime with a quick visit to the card desk on the first floor of the Murray-Herrick Campus Center.
Food services staff will also be outside the entrance to The View during the first week of school to register people into the system.
A faster system
It’s one of many changes to restaurant services this fall, with a new unlimited meal plan, the hiring of a new executive chef, and expanded hours and menu options.
“As we move to unlimited meals, we may have more students coming in and out,” said Mitch Karstens, associate vice president of ancillary services. “Instead of having a block plan, where they count meals, someone can go four times a day, and we don’t want them to line up four times a day.”
At The View, there will now be two separate lines to enter.
A line will be for students, faculty and staff with meal plans to be scanned using Wave ID. Once the person’s hand is waved, a fully automated turnstile door will open, allowing them entry.
The other line will be for those using guest passes, eXpress, dining dollars, cash, or a credit/debit card. There will be a cashier on this line to assist customers.
Binz’s refectory and the new dining hall in autumn 2020 will also have a similar system in place.
How it works
Journalist Justin Amaker registers for the Wave ID system at the card desk. Starting this fall, anyone with a meal plan will enter a dining room by scanning their hand. (Justin Amaker/TommieMedia)
When a person initially enrolls in the Wave ID program, they run both hands through a biometric scanner, twice per hand. The reader then takes 16 random dots across the entire hand and converts them into a pattern, a “set of 0s and 1s created from a mathematical formula,” according to an information sheet given to new registrants.
Images are stored on an internal server on campus, allowing scanners to operate even when campus internet is down.
Biometric readers do not scan or store fingerprints, which means Wave ID will still work if users are wearing a ring or bandage, or even for people with broken or amputated fingers.
“We’re not going to swipe cards anymore,” said Pam Peterson, executive director of Dining Services. “The Wave ID is expected to indicate how you are doing (using your meal plan).”
If someone did not have the ability to scan one of their hands for Wave ID, Catering Services would work with that person one-on-one to ensure they are still able to use their meal plan, Karstens said.
Justin Amaker can be contacted at [email protected]