- One of COVID-19’s main symptoms is elevated body temperature
- These cameras have infrared (IR) sensors, do not require physical contact, and provide almost immediate readings.
- four of their scanners were purchased by Georgia’s Gwinnett County
One of COVID-19’s main symptoms is elevated body temperature, and the market has been flooded with newly developed products designed to detect fevers. According to Securitytoday.com, video surveillance companies have been stepping up with new and improved products to fill this growing need in the marketplace. They have been producing temperature-measuring cameras that were not originally intended for medical use, but these devices are now being installed across the United States.
As these and other companies scramble to get on the bandwagon, it is a good idea to understand how these cameras work and if there is a real benefit to using them. Wired.com listed some of the pros and cons of thermal scanners.
Pluses and Minuses
These cameras have infrared (IR) sensors, do not require physical contact, and provide almost immediate readings. They have been used in facilities to monitor equipment temperatures, without the need to stop production. The cameras measure light, or electromagnetic radiation, over different wavelengths. This may not be accurate for screening individuals for fever, though.
Wired.com pointed out that these cameras were designed to work on objects that do not reflect outside light. Humans do not reflect that much, so this is not the main problem. These cameras only look at the outer surface, which would be the skin. The skin is usually cooler than the body’s internal temperature; medical thermometers go inside the body. Keeping all this in mind, these IR cameras could be useful in detecting elevated temperatures in people but cannot test for the virus. Here are some of the companies that have entered this market.
RedSpeed USA: Based in Illinois, this company manufactures red light photo-enforcement cameras and railroad crossing cameras. Its “fever detector” was advertised, and four of the company's scanners were purchased by Georgia’s Gwinnett County, home to the city of Atlanta. Each scanner was priced at $30,000, which The Washington Post declared was more expensive than similar products made by competitors.
FLIR Systems, Inc: This company designs and manufactures advanced threat detection systems, thermal imaging and visible-light imaging products, and other technologies. One of the company's main products is thermal imaging infrared cameras. FLIR Systems, Inc is located in Wilsonville, Oregon, and its products are used in different government and commercial applications. The Post claimed that FLIR’s scanners are priced between $5,000 and $15,000.
Hanwha Techwin: This South Korean company has also entered the market, and is working on a temperature detection camera that may enter the market in 2020. Hanwha Techwin is using its thermal imaging technology that will be able to detect body temperature, company officials said. One of the company’s senior marketing directors, Miguel Lazatin, stated that this technology “will play an important role in the future.” The release date, specifications, and pricing are all in the works.
Dahua Security of China released its “Dahua Thermal Temperature Monitoring Solution,” priced at $21,000. It has a blackbody calibration device, hybrid thermal network camera, and facial recognition, which enables it to measure temperatures of large groups of people. The Israeli company Ogpal refitted an industrial camera to detect fever, and sold 1,000 of them in two months. X.Labs of Hoover, Alabama, released the FEEVR product, which uses FLIR technology. COO Todd Dunphy stated that FEEVR can quickly measure a person’s forehead temperature from up to ten feet away.