Using thermal imaging cameras as a fever detection tool is not new. However, there’s been a surge of interest in the technology as concerns about disease detection and transmission control rise in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the technology is helpful, it’s important to keep the four facts below in mind when planning on using it to detect fever.
1. The user matters
Thermal imaging cameras are a great replacement for infrared thermometers but using and interpreting their results requires training. Subsequently, a thermal imaging system is only as good and reliable as the people using and calibrating it. This means that if you want to install and use thermal imaging cameras, you’ll need to think about making sure that the people who’ll monitor them are familiar with the technology.
2. It’s not always reliable
Using thermal imaging as a fever detection tool requires you to set a population baseline. This is typically done by measuring a set of healthy people and using their readings to create a point of comparison. The problem with this is that everyone’s baseline body temperature is different, and these variations can sometimes be substantial. Ambient temperature can also introduce inaccuracies. Alternate means of setting baselines exist but can be cumbersome to employ in high-traffic areas.
3. Precision is crucial
Thermal cameras can only measure surface temperature, which means they heavily rely on correlating skin temperature with internal temperature. This was traditionally done by focusing on the forehead, but more recent studies suggest the canthus, the inner corner of our eyes, is more reliable. This spot seems to provide the most dependable readings for estimating core body temperature. However, it remains more error-prone than direct measurement techniques and requires a clear view of a small target that can be obscured easily.
4. Distance can be a problem
State-of-the-art cameras are able to get a surface temperature reading with as few as three-by-three pixels. However, the canthus is so small that there already aren’t that many relevant pixels. When the distance is added to the equation, the result is that cameras need to be calibrated for different distances. Additional image processing software may be needed to manipulate images captured from a distance.
Thermal imaging equipment in Calgary and Lethbridge
Thermal imaging cameras have become very popular. Luckily, Guardian Security Solutions can help you choose the right system for your needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our products and services.