With the bottleneck in mass testing for COVID-19, businesses and establishments have to get creative when it comes to the safety of both their employees and their customers.
One effective way to address this concern is through thermal imaging cameras, which can detect variations in temperature in large groups of people at once. They are already seeing use in the detection of those infected with the virus in airports, grocery stores, hospitals, and voting locations.
One great quality of modern thermal imaging cameras is that they can detect the temperature of twelve different areas of the body with accuracy to half a degree.
Thermal imaging cameras have been used in a pandemic before.
In 2003, the world suffered at the hands of a pandemic called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—the SARS coronavirus or SARS-CoV. It resulted in over 8,096 cases in over 29 countries, 774 of which were fatal.
One of the ways cases were detected was through thermal imaging cameras at border checkpoints, like airports, seaports, and border crossings. It was an essential method of contact tracing, minimizing the risk of medical professionals and other front liners from getting infected through proximity.
How has the technology changed in 2020?
At the time, a lot of thermal imaging systems had to be observed by someone sitting in front of a wall of monitors in real-time. In 2020, thermal sensors have become smarter, with software functionality built into many of these systems to automatically alert the appropriate officials in the building.
Mobile thermal imaging stations have also seen deployment in high-risk areas, such as Changi airport, in order to observe passengers and flight crews arriving from other high-risk areas. This has given thermal imaging systems an added layer of flexibility, which has become important in the prevention of transmission.
Certain systems have included facial recognition in addition to thermal imaging as an added layer of analysis, making contact tracing even easier without resorting to intensive physical searches.
What types of systems could I invest in?
You could update your establishment’s walk-through detectors to detect not only metals but also the temperatures of the people entering. These are quite easy to set up with sensors installed on both sides. It only needs a distance of 4–8 cm, with an error margin of half a degree celsius.
The Portable Thermal Imager 2MTHPH-1612 features an 8-inch screen that can measure between temperatures ranging from 30–45 degrees celsius with an accuracy of 0.5 degrees. For smaller establishments, this might be apt as the device is easily rechargeable on a computer.
Facial recognition systems have programmable settings that can be set to detect for temperature ranges between 30–45 degrees celsius, with an accuracy of 0.1 degrees. These systems also have a measurement distance of 1 metre and have a 99% accuracy for facial recognition.
For any health concern or crisis, an ounce of prevention will always be better than a pound of cure. One of the ways the COVID-19 pandemic can be handled proactively is by detecting threats right before they could come in.
Even just that one preventive measure can save not just your life, but the lives of your employees, customers, and their families.