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article imageQ&A: New, walkthrough thermal scanning to screen for COVID-19 Special

By Tim Sandle     Sep 2, 2020 in Health
Globally, companies and governments are looking for ways and technologies to make sure they stay open. The question is how much privacy are individuals willing to give up to stay out of quarantine?
While a rise in temperature is one of the key assessment criteria for COVID-19, many thermography scanners capture personal data. A solution to the COVID-19 symptom assessment and data privacy conundrum has been developed by ThermalPass. This is a thermal sensor temperature-scanning system.
The objective of the technology is to allow businesses, nursing homes, airports, schools, and other high-traffic locations to be able to see a person's temperature without having to use a thermometer. As the technology does not use thermal cameras, it does not infringe on a person's privacy. This offsets concerns among some in the community about increased video surveillance in public places.
ThermalPass scanners  with permission from ThermalPass.
ThermalPass scanners, with permission from ThermalPass.
ThermalPass
Moreover, the U.S. government’s recent ban on Chinese thermal cameras also positions ThermalPass as a key technology to consider.
ThermalPass is currently in the process of ‘pressure testing’ its system with the help of the aerospace engineering firm, Makel Engineering, Inc. Makel Engineering has worked with the likes of NASA and specializes in space-grade intelligent sensors and chemical conversion systems. Their engineering team is conducting rigorous testing procedures to ensure the successful launch of the system device.
To understand more about the innovation, Digital Journal spoke with Michael Lende, CEO of Internet of Things Inc.
Digital Journal: How important is temperature measurement for assessing COVID-19 symptoms?
Michael Lende: Businesses that remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic are faced with the challenge of minimizing the risk of spreading the virus while still being able to provide product services to their communities. Screening temperatures provides an added level of health protection for employees and legal protection for the business. A fever is the most common coronavirus symptom, affecting nearly 90 percent of those who have the illness.
This telling symptom can be easily monitored with a fever detection system like ThermalPass to screen and alert potentially sick employees or visitors and keep them from exposing others in the vicinity. And scanning for fevers also builds confidence among the workforce, allowing employees to perform their jobs in safer surroundings without undue health concerns. Of course, using fever detection devices is just one of many proactive precautions that companies should take to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Effective social distancing, the use of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning and disinfecting practices play a major role in keeping businesses running safely and smoothly.
DJ: What are the limitations with taking more conventional temperature measurements?
Lende: The typical limitation is that it cannot be done at scale with the time required to receive an accurate temperature reading. Also, if you are taking a reading by hand, you are more than likely violating social distancing rules. Lastly, with conventional temperature measurements you are not able to take advantage of the data analytics component that ThermalPass offers.
DJ: How does the ThermalPass technology work?
Lende: ThermalPass is a non-imposing, unobtrusive medical-grade-sensor fever detection system that blends into any environment where people must walk through an entrance way -- much like a metal detector, but less imposing. The system takes 400 temperature readings per second, detecting body temperature with accuracy of +/- 0.2°C, making it one of the most reliable and accurate fever detection devices on the market. Unlike thermal camera technologies, ThermalPass uses contactless, medical-grade, thermal sensors that rapidly scan individuals’ temperatures as they pass through the device and does not infringe on a person's privacy.
And unlike thermal cameras, the sensors are more precise at reading body temperature since they respond to a very limited wavelength range -- around 14 microns -- which is what the human body generally radiates.
The system is designed to measure temperature from a distance by detecting an object's infrared energy. The thermopile sensing element, composed of small thermocouples on a silicon chip, absorb the energy and produce an output signal. Infrared cameras are not as stable or as accurate in detecting body temperature as thermophile sensors.
Our temperature monitoring technology can be rapidly deployed at the entryway of a manufacturing plant, school, office complex, airport, theme park, arena, or any area where people congregate, where it will efficiently identify whether a person exhibits an elevated temperature. At the ideal distance of 1-3 feet, ThermalPass can detect fevers at a rate within +/- 0.2℃. The system accommodates wheelchairs, strollers and even groups of two (parent and child) and there is no need to remove garments or physically engage a temperature reader in any way.
The system instantly and quietly alerts security personnel of any person with a skin temperature that suggests a higher-than-normal temperature, allowing staff to conduct a secondary check.
DJ: What is the accuracy, and how is data captured?
Lende: ThermalPass takes 400 temperature readings per second, detecting body temperature with accuracy of +/- 0.2°C, making it one of the most reliable and accurate fever detection devices on the market. Unlike thermal camera technologies, ThermalPass uses contactless, medical-grade thermal sensors that rapidly scan individuals’ temperatures as they pass through the device and does not infringe on a person's privacy.
DJ: What steps did you go through to develop the technology?
Lende: ThermalPass was designed following a detailed review and a competitive analysis of existing fever detection security systems and solutions on the market. The system has been fabricated and standardized for North American use as part of rigorous in-field testing before its commercial deployment.
We are also working with the acclaimed engineering team at Makel Engineering, Inc. to conduct rigorous testing procedures to ensure the successful launch of its fever detection system, ThermalPass, later this month. Makel Engineering, Inc. was founded in 1995 and is a California based R and D company that specializes in the development of industrial, automotive, military, and space-grade intelligent sensors and chemical conversion systems. The company provides the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and commercial launch companies with engineering support on programs including the sensors for the life support system of the International Space Station and propellant leak detection systems for monitoring hydrogen levels.
DJ: Where is your technology being used?
Lende: ThermalPass is designed to be used in all areas where people work, play and congregate. That includes schools, airports, business complexes, hospitals, government buildings, hotels, arenas and theme parks to name a few. A major advantage of ThermalPass is its use in high-traffic locations where people in full motion are screened without any effect on their pace of movement. The system will trigger an audio and visual signal when a specified temperature is exceeded, allowing facility staff to respond appropriately.
More about Temperature, thermal scanner, Covid19, coronavirus
 
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