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The current world pandemic with COVID-19 has sparked an unprecedented demand for non-contact temperature measurement to screen people for potential fever in places such as offices, factories, outdoor workplaces, schools, sporting venues, gymnasiums, beauty & hairdressing salons, shopping centres, airports, transport hubs and public buildings.
The demand for industrial infra-red (IR) thermometers has outstripped supply and it is suspected that many are destined for fever scanning for which they are not designed and this raises serious concerns.
Inaccurate temperature screening with an industrial IR thermometer could allow persons with fever to pass undetected!
Detection of Fever by Temperature
The human body temperature averages 37°C and the presence of fever can be indicated by a temperature increase from as little as 1°C.
Industrial IR thermometers are designed for higher temperatures of surfaces such as metals and typically have an error of ±2.5°C at body temperature and are unlikely to accurately detect a 1°C temperature increase.
Medical IR thermometers are optimised for body temperature with a typical accuracy of ±0.3° but must be used within the subject’s “personal space” to measure to this accuracy, limiting their use to medical environments.
If scanning is performed in a non-medical environment, the 1.5m social distancing requirement applies and this restricts the use of infra-red thermometers in favour of Thermal Imagers.
Influence of Social Distancing
All infra-red thermometers have a conical sensing beam. As the distance from the subject increases, so too does the area being measured. At the mandatory 1.5m, the typical measured area is 230mm diameter, larger than a person’s forehead meaning the temperature of the surroundings are included in the measurement, giving further rise to false measurements.
Thermal Imagers allow for Social Distancing
Medical Thermal Imagers optimised for body temperature enable accurate temperature measurement while maintaining social distancing requirements.
Two new products specifically designed to assist identify persons with possible fevers without invading the subject’s personal space are now available. One is designed for individual scanning, the other for large groups. Both automatically alarm if persons with an elevated temperature are detected.
Sonel KT-120M is a hand-held thermal imager with a ±0.5°C accuracy and is suitable for identifying if an individual is displaying increased temperature consistent with a fever.
The new Sonel KT-120M Thermal image from the Sonel KT-120M
MRC IR-CAM-FEVER is a remote or tripod-mounted camera suitable for scanning larger groups of people and singling out any with an elevated temperature.
The camera placed on a tripod near a door or anywhere else there are people passing by that require screening. Using artificial intelligence, the technology is even capable of measuring the temperature of people that are wearing hats, glasses, face masks, and other head-wear and separate the sick from the healthy.