As businesses look to remain open safely during a pandemic, many are moving to screen customers (and employees) as they arrive by taking their temperature. Those found with abnormally high temperatures are flagged for further screening. The logistics of giving every patron and employee a clean thermometer as they enter a building simply aren’t realistic (think what would happen if this was done at your local supermarket). There are definitely more efficient ways to take temperatures at scale, two of the quickest today being temporal artery thermometers and thermal cameras. The reason for their current popularity is two-fold: speed and zero-contact functionality, which minimizes the threat of virus spread.
If you’ve visited a medical facility lately, you’ve probably encountered a temporal scanning thermometer. Those scanned must remove hats or anything that might obstruct their forehead, and the person scanning simply waves the temporal scanner across the forehead. That’s it. Results are returned in a second, instantly revealing whether a person has an abnormally high temperature or not. Temporal scanning thermometers work by using infrared technology to examine the temporal artery (located in the forehead) and measure a person’s temperature. It’s safe for essentially anyone to use a temporal scanning thermometer, even children, including infants as young as three months. The only downside to temporal scanners is the cost as they can be more expensive than other sorts of thermometers.
Thermal imaging cameras (or thermographic cameras) can detect heat radiation at much greater distances than temporal scanners and can identify surface temperatures of both inanimate objects and people’s skin. Some data centers even employ them to visually monitor the temperature of server racks. But being able to detect body temperature at scale makes thermal imaging cameras the perfect non-contact screening tool for businesses looking to safely keep their doors open. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is even going so far as to officially register and use certain thermal imaging products and screening solutions in its effort to detect elevated temperatures within the United States. The effective range of thermographic cameras varies by manufacturer, with some working within 3 to 6 feet and others able to work up to 23 feet away.
As with all technology today, the data generated (and its potential) and how software can manipulate it will always be far more alluring than the hardware that stores it. Thermal imaging cameras are no different. Paired with artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition algorithms, the application for this technology could be a game changer—pandemic or no pandemic. Imagine a scenario where thermal imaging cameras are installed throughout entire cities. Not only could individuals with elevated temperatures be detected, but by using data from every camera in the system, contact tracing could be performed retroactively in an instant. This means those who have had close proximity to people with elevated temperatures could be identified and screened themselves. This could give health professionals and authorities a more accurate, real-time view of those with elevated temperatures and where they’ve been than ever thought possible.
For more information on temporal scanners or thermal imaging cameras and how they could help your customers, contact the experts at Ingram Micro.
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