Infrared Cameras for Detecting Elevated Body Temperature
26 May 2020
The pandemic triggered by the coronavirus poses enormous challenges to public life and health care systems worldwide. A significant contribution to containing the rapid spread of the virus is the interruption of infection chains. In addition to the precautionary measures known in this field, the detection of infected people can be a contributory factor. Especially when the currently highly restrictive measures to prevent contact in daily life are lifted step by step, appropriate screening measures should be used: Highly frequented areas with a great risk potential, like medical first-aid wards, hospitals and nursing homes, but also schools, shopping centres and large companies as well as transport hubs such as airports, seaports and railway stations are just a few examples of where screening measures are applied. They help to minimise the spread of dangerous infectious diseases, such as coronavirus (2019-nCo, Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2), "severe acute respiratory syndrome" (SARS), Ebola virus (EVD) and "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus" (MERS-CoV), through consistent checks on individuals.
Certainly, thermographic cameras can neither detect the virus itself nor a person carrying the virus! But these cameras enable the accurate, non-reactive, contactless and planar recording of surface temperatures while using the technical temperature measurement technology named thermography. Hence, they are highly suitable for the quick and easy detection of elevated body temperatures, which can be an indication of a possible virus infection. Such indications must always be followed by other examination methods that allow a reliable statement about the disease and to initiate appropriate actions!
The thermographic temperature measurement for detection of elevated body temperature puts high demands on suitable cameras: In addition to a high thermal resolution, there must be very good stability and measuring accuracy in order to be able to reliably distinguish a person with an elevated body temperature from a person without these symptoms using critical temperature thresholds and alarm values. Also important is the required high geometric resolution, which is expressed in the number of infrared (IR) pixels, because the area that has been proven in several studies to be suitable for reliably detecting elevated body temperature at the inner eyelid angle has only a small surface area, but must be sharply mapped for error-free temperature measurement. The measurement itself takes less than a second. Largely determined by the wide-ranging requirements of the users, the evaluation of the measured data can range from simple manual use to detect people with elevated body temperature for further examinations to automatic detection and storage.
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