In this webinar, Invisible Health Technologies CEO Andrew Southern gives an overview of the technology landscape surrounding the emerging field of Mass Fever Screening Systems.
Hi everyone. My name’s Andrew Southern. I’m a technology consultant from New York city and I’m the CEO of invisible health technologies. We provide health technologies for businesses.
I am very well versed in technology and selecting technologies. I’m going to give everybody on this webinar, a quick crash course on thermal cameras, how they work, what the different options are, what some misconceptions are.
So let’s just get right into it. First of all, what is a thermal camera?
Well, it’s basically like a surveillance camera for heat, and we can use the images that they produce in order to determine if somebody may have an elevated temperature.
In all cases with thermal scanning cameras, it must always be followed up with a handheld thermometer as a secondary confirmation that somebody does in fact have an elevated temperature.
So let’s look at the different options.
First of all, on the lowest end of the scale, you have thermal meters.
These are meters that have been used in industry for a long time. And they’re used to sense the heat coming off of a brake pad or something like that.
A lot of these companies have taken those meters and re-engineered them for this new temperature sensing application. And there’s a couple of drawbacks.
First and foremost, these cameras are not very accurate. They normally have a swing of about two to three degrees Fahrenheit. So you can imagine when you’re trying to determine whether somebody has an elevated body temperature, that range is just a little bit too wide.
Also people have to stop and look into these cameras, take off their glasses and stop for a second in order to get a reading. And that’s just going to be too slow for a lot of applications.
And thirdly, these systems need to be calibrated throughout the day. They take a sample of a couple of people that walk by, and that becomes the baseline by which everybody else is measuring.
So if you don’t do the calibration, you’re going to end up with bad alerts and bad data. So these systems are normally between five and $12,000.
Moving on to the next version of thermal cameras. It’s the same sort of camera, but it’s more accurate because they use a what’s called a black body, which is a device which goes on a tripod, looking back at the camera, just like this. And this thing provides a stable reference point for temperature.
So I might set this and it might be out putting a hundred degrees and this becomes the reference point for the camera. So when I come in to the view at 98.6 degrees, it compares me to the two and makes a reading that way. And that’s more accurate than the meters that I mentioned before. These systems are normally between 10 and $20,000, but they still require that people either stop or walk by single file.
It still has a limitation to its throughput. In terms of people passing by these systems often require that you bring a windows 10 laptop and set it all up yourself, sort of like a science project. And that just might not work for some institutions that don’t want to put any power into this. They want to have a finished system.
The last system that I want to talk about today is a Mass Fever Screening System (MFSS)
These are the most advanced systems they run from, let’s say, $30 to $40,000.
And these are not science projects. These are kits that are made very specifically to sense human temperature on a mass scale, meaning they can screen people without them stopping without them slowing down without them being single file. You can take an entire corridor and scan these people as they go by and they won’t even know it.And that’s really useful for high traffic areas.
I also think it’s useful from a social perspective to not be slowing people down. And if you think about it, even though they’re more expensive than the meters that I’ve described earlier, by the time you set up a couple of those meters, cause you have to have everybody queued up and you have to have a couple of lanes. You could have one MFSS and process everybody without them stopping.
So you really have to do that calculation to see what works best for you.
Now, there’s been a lot written about thermal imaging technology in general in the press. And a lot of it’s been kind of critical and I can understand why, first of all, some of their criticisms are correct. And secondly, this technology is new in the U S so people are a little afraid of it.
Let me tell you some stuff you need to know. First of all, this technology does not diagnose an illness. All it can do is read your skin and determine what it thinks your core body temperature is. It’s an estimate. Now it’s a fairly accurate estimate, but it’s an estimate, nonetheless. So that’s why we do a secondary screening.
If we see somebody that alerts at a certain temperature, we pull them aside and we do a secondary screening to determine if they do in fact, have a temperature with an active screening layer, it can help everybody feel safer and more confident going out into public spaces.
And that does have value because if we fill up a building every day with a thousand people, it’d be nice to know if everyone else in the building didn’t come to work with a fever, or if we get on an airplane and everyone was scanned at the gate, at least we know everybody in the airplane, didn’t get on the plane with a fever.
Another limitation is these systems. Can’t read somebody accurately. If they come in directly out of the cold or out of the heat, and they still have that temperature on their skin, you need about 60 to 90 seconds in the condition space to acclimate before you take somebody’s reading. So what that means is the systems generally need to be positioned further into the lobby. So people have time to get inside, kind of get acclimated, and then they can walk through this scanner and you can get an accurate reading in the case of an MFSS.
Those systems are calibrating themselves, but the other systems need to be calibrated on a regular basis. And if they’re not, they’re not going to work correctly. You’re not going to get good readings.
Another point that’s important to make is that these systems need to be attended in some way. Somebody has to be watching the monitor and listening for the alert, and then go follow up with a secondary screening that doesn’t have to be a dedicated person, but you do need somebody that’s responsible for watching these, these systems.
So there’s a staffing item and staffing and training item there as well. Now these are all things that can be managed, but you have to know these limitations going into it.
So thermal imaging solution is not the end all be all, but it’s definitely an important technology in the future. We will see these all over the place and for good reason, if you’re interested in learning more about these things or purchasing them, you can contact us at www.invisiblehealthtechnologies.com.
We’ll walk you through all of this stuff, help you get your hands on some of the equipment that you might need. We’re happy to help.
Thank you for watching this webinar. Have a good day.