Corona: How does temperature screening with thermal imaging cameras work?

Industrial temperature screening tablets can detect elevated temperatures in humans. Automatic measuring functions in the camera test people for increased body temperature in a maximum of two seconds. We show how the technology works.

While authorities around the world are struggling to reopen businesses without a vaccine against COVID-19 being available, it is becoming clear that new safety and health standards need to be created. In addition to shorter cleaning intervals, the availability of hand washing stations and personal protective equipment (PPE), society must redesign processes in order to comply with the guidelines of social distancing. This also includes monitoring who enters and leaves a facility.

Temperature screening tablets are one solution. Although thermal cameras cannot diagnose COVID-19 and other infections, the elevated skin temperature test is a safe and efficient primary tool to quickly screen large numbers of people.

Temperature screening tablets measure the temperature on the surface of the skin near the tear duct (which is in the middle of the inner corner of the eye). The temperature that prevails on this outer skin surface allows the most precise inferences to be drawn about the core body temperature of the person being examined.

The accuracy of the temperature screening

When measuring skin temperatures, it is important to use cameras with a higher resolution and greater stability, such as those offered by Accentec Technologies LLC. These models have an

screening mode based on an algorithm that indicates increased skin temperatures compared to other people to be examined and within a given environment.

The algorithm works with a dynamic output value and reference to normal changes in skin temperature during the day. At room temperature, these cameras have a measurement accuracy of +/- 0.5 ° C and measure individual skin temperatures almost in real time, i.e. in 2s.

The accuracy of the measured values ​​of the skin temperatures depends on several factors, including the camera used, the sensitivity of the detector, the camera settings and the distance to the measuring objects or people.

The camera must be close enough to the object to detect multiple temperature pixels near the tear duct - the point that most accurately reflects a person's core body temperature and is least affected by environmental influences.

Increased performance while maintaining precision in measurements will be the most important element that R&D teams will focus on in developing future thermal imaging technologies.

Data protection and health technology

While temperature controls tend to be more acceptable when carried out by an employer, the same practice raises privacy issues among the public. Thermal imaging cameras cannot be used for face recognition. They do not take a recognizable photographic image of the person whose skin temperature is being measured - they cannot determine the color of the person's eyes, hair, or clothing, or the tone of their skin.

For many branches of industry that rely on this instrument as an early indicator, the individual screening of staff or the public is the crucial first step, where results of the temperature measurement are available almost in real time.

The "Elevated Skin Temperature" method measures the temperature near a person's lacrimal gland.

If the software detects a skin temperature above a threshold value above the average value, it informs the user of this by means of an acoustic or visual signal on the display screen. The person should then be further medically examined.

The software automatically takes skin temperature reference measurements at the screening location in order to determine a base average value for the skin temperature. During the day, the software takes further reference values. This relative method of temperature screening takes normal fluctuations in body temperature, which are based on biological and external environmental factors, into account and thus reduces the number of false alarms compared to alarm systems that work with absolute measured values.

Electrical Equipment - Manufacturing, Implementation and Maintenance Guidelines when Using a Thermal Imaging Camera to Detect Fever in Humans “describes a protocol for precise and effective checking for increased skin temperature with suitable thermal imaging cameras.

In most facilities, the use of a dedicated, high resolution temperature sensing will prove to be the least intrusive method of incorporating temperature measurement into new employee health and safety programs.

In some cases, companies can begin using existing thermal cameras that they have already used for other purposes to temporarily check for elevated skin temperature by activating “Screening Mode” and following the steps above.

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