Spectrum analysers used to detect exam cheats

There’s now a new way to use technology to catch exam cheaters, thanks to developments with spectrum analysers, which have been shown to catch a number of people who did not study enough in Taiwan.

The FSH4 spectrum analysers were develped by German firm Rohde & Schwarz for the National Communications Commission in Taiwan. They work by looking out for mobile phone signals, alerting examiners when someone’s hopping onto the net to look up an answer or receiving a text message from a more knowledgeable friend.

The device was put to the test in South Taiwan, where a number of people were taking an exam for public sector jobs. Exam monitors wore the analysers in their belts, which were linked to earphones which would alert them to phone signals in the area. The initial test showed that there were three suspected cheaters in the exam.

The analysers don’t specifically pinpoint an individual, but they do point out the general location from where a phone signal came, which can help exam organisers narrow down a list of suspects. Other evidence would need to be supplied to prove a person cheated, but the efficacy of the devices is said to be extremely high.

The Rohde & Schwarz engineer who wrote the software for the analysers, Lai Cheng-heng, said that he was not told what it would be used for, only what design was needed.