Thermal imaging cameras like this might scan you for a fever the next time you walk into work or a business

Technology

You’ve probably heard that Amazon is conducting daily temperature checks for employees and other businesses are likely to do the same.

Recently, I checked out new automated temperature screening technology from Santa Barbara-based Seek Thermal. They’ve created a contactless temperature screening system they believe will soon be in high demand in the fight against coronavirus.

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The company is one of the top suppliers of thermal imagining cameras to the firefighting industry. The cameras can “see” heat through smoke, which is useful to firefighters.

The company’s co-founder, Bill Parrish, has been in the thermal imaging business for 45 years.

“We can’t say you’ve got COVID, but we can say you know it looks like you have an elevated temperature,” explains Parrish.

His company’s contactless temperature screening system is called Seek Scan.

“Thermal imaging is the ability to see heat, basically,” says Parish.

It took some creative engineering to make this system fast and accurate. It consists of two pieces – a thermal imaging camera you stand in front of and a reference heat source behind you.

The camera detects skin temperature from about five feet away, then uses the reference heat source to ensure accuratcy. Final software will convert the skin temperature into a more widely acceptable estimated body temperature.

The entire process takes just a few seconds and it can be done with or without an operator.

If the temperature reading is above a particular threshold, an alarm sounds and the person can be taken for a secondary screening.

Thermal cameras like this are really good at detecting relative temperature differences from a distance.

“The warmer you are, the more light you give off. We don’t want someone coming to work that’s sick,” said Parrish.

With millions of business poised to implement temperature taking technology for employees and perhaps even customers, Parrish has a new concern: “we’re going to have a struggle to meet demand,” he concluded.

Seek Scan will sell for about $2,000, which they say is more affordable than other solutions, which can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000.

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