Automated facial recognition dispensers are installed in Beijing's public restrooms to curb paper toilet theft from people who take large amounts of the strips at their homes. Those who wanted a roll of paper in Temple of Heaven Park must now stand in front of a machine with a high-definition camera for three seconds before it dispenses a 60-cm length of toilet paper.
The device will release another roll to the same person after nine minutes from his or her first toilet paper take-out. The park management has even recently upgraded its toilet paper from on-ply to two-ply. Guests who are suffering from stomach aches like diarrhea or those who require more toilet paper will contact any park staff on the grounds to provide more toilet rolls.
Earlier this month, BBC News has reported that visitors at the park were caught stuffing excessive toilet papers in their bags. The Temple of Heaven Park has recognized the problem for ten years since it has provided the public with free toilet papers.
Ever since the facial recognition dispensers were installed, toilet paper usage was down by 20 percent, and people have a harder time "stealing" strips for home use. Even the dispensers themselves became an iconic attraction at the park.
Nevertheless, the technology has the nation divided on whether it's really necessary to use facial recognition as it raises privacy concerns for users. The Guardian reported a certain user saying, "I thought the toilet was the last place I had a right to privacy, but they are watching me in there too."
Moreover, there are news where the dispensers broke down and compel users to wait for a couple of minutes for it to light up again. There are also delays in scanning facial features and releasing of toilet papers for visitors. Park staff are forced to hand out paper rolls themselves for the people who are in dire need of it.
China wishes to revolutionize their bathrooms recently with a £233bn funding for renovating 100,000 toilets and calls on citizens to use toilet paper economically with no wastage.