Can Thermal Imaging Be Used To Detect Covid-19?

The COVID-19 virus epidemic has posed a major challenge to national resources and a race to adapt existing technologies and to develop and introduce newer technologies. Particular focus has been on the use of thermal imaging, with the sales of infrared / thermal imaging cameras dramatically growing.

With treatment plans being far from perfected, clinical trials just getting underway, and with any sign of a discovered vaccine a year or so out, preventive methods as well as social distancing and face masks are needed now more than ever in the battle against COVID-19 and any further outbreaks.

Introducing thermal imaging. Technology that was once considered an obscure concept of the future, is fast becoming a reality of today, all in response to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already seen thermal camera installations take place in high-traffic areas such as hospital entrances, shopping centres and office buildings, theme parks and potentially mass attendance sporting events when they resume.

Non-contact cameras use sensors with thermal imaging to detect so-called “hot zones;” infrared energy (heat) emitted from a person (alone or in a crowd) and turn the energy into an electronic signal. The signal is then converted into a series of heat-made infrared and visible thermal video images, not visible light, which are then transmitted in real-time to the analysis and processing monitoring centre. What a screener then sees and records is the current hot zones with temperature measurements for a human.

Can Thermal Imaging Spot a Virus or an Infection?

The short answer is, no. But potentially, yes. As well as being used to detect heat, thermal imaging cameras are able to perceive elevated body temperatures, and identify the fine differences in the heat, as accurate as +/-2.0°C, which are usually displayed as shades of gray. Hence, a scanned person showing a high body temperature can immediately be pulled aside for further examination.

Here at Hunters, we supply and install thermal cameras as a way of going that one step further in the current outbreak of events to ensure safety in high-traffic areas.

Take the Hikvision Thermographic Bullet Camera for example. Capable of measuring skin-surface temperatures. The perfect security and temperature-screening solution that is suitable for implementation in schools, campuses, businesses, factories, and stations.

Why Thermal Cameras?

Sometimes, these systems are seen as a magic bullet for screening mass fever. Measurements are almost immediate, there is no touch and data can be viewed at a distance, while minimal disturbance exists in public areas and there is no chance of cross-contamination or damage to operators. And with limited training the system can be used.

The wave of the future has arrived, and not a moment too soon.

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