2020 has saw the global spread of COVID-19 more commonly known as the Coronavirus. Common symptoms of the virus include a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath and is often accompanied by a high fever. With the virus spreading rapidly through contact, advancements in technology have been instrumental in the detection of COVID-19 and as a result minimising the spread.
Thermal imaging cameras have been around for many years but in the past few months this technology has played a vital role in defending countries against further infection. This technology has been implemented into many airports, offices, public spaces, doctor’s offices and hospitals.
The camera’s work by translating thermal energy into light energy that is visible to the human eye (via a screen). The images display the temperature of a particular object and can be set up to provide alerts to higher temperatures. This is particularly useful in the control of the Coronavirus. Rapid screening means that hand-held or free-standing thermal imaging cameras can be used to detect a person’s temperature in as little as one second. Multiple temperatures can be detected at any one time and an alert will be sent to the operator should a temperature measure outside of the pre-set range.
You might be wondering how the cameras differentiate between the surface temperature of a human or an alternative object. Artificial Intelligence has been integrated into these cameras to prevent the technology recording the temperatures of unwanted entities.
There is a downfall to this technology, the most accurate point of temperature detection for a human is the tear duct. This can become obscured to the camera by glasses meaning people with a potentially higher body temperature may not be picked up by the cameras. This can be avoided through the use of hand held thermo imaging cameras as the operator can request that glasses be removed. There is no risk to the operator or object of the camera’s focus as the technology is non-invasive and emits no radiation.
This technology means people identified to have a higher body temperature can be screened where appropriate for COVID-19. This is a costly process as many infections raise core body temperature so it is impossible for the camera to detect whether or not the raised temperature is a result of the Coronavirus or another infection.
Regardless of cost, thermal imaging cameras have become a necessary technology on the front defence line against the spread of COVID-19.
For more information on the use of thermal imaging camera’s check out these videos:
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