Flir prioritises thermal sensor for body temp screening

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Flir's new A400/A700 camera

Flir Systems has launched a thermal sensor that it is prioritising for tasks that combat the spread of Covid-19, such as screening people for fever.

In an article for The Telegraph, it was reported that Flir registered a 700 per cent increase globally in demand for its thermal imaging technology, as temperature screening becomes more widely used to try and identify people potentially infected with the virus.

Other solutions have been released, including Automation Technology's FebriScan, based on the company's IRSX-I infrared camera, and a fever scanning solution from Digital Barriers in the UK.

Thermal imaging can detect an elevated body temperature, usually by focusing on the tear ducts, which has been shown to be the best location on the face to measure core body temperature.

To detect an elevated body temperature – which is not a diagnosis of Covid-19 – requires a high-resolution thermal image across someone's face, according to Markus Tarin of Movitherm.

Speaking in an explanatory video on YouTube, Tarin warned that a thermal camera pointed at a large crowd will not provide enough resolution over the tear ducts to be effective at fever screening. 

Flir's new A400/A700 camera has an infrared resolution of 320 x 240 pixels.

Flir's president and CEO, Jim Cannon, said in a statement that the company will prioritise initial deliveries of the camera for use in elevated skin temperature screening for Covid-19, but also said that this would be 'as an adjunct to other elevated body temperature screening tools'.

The camera is designed with two configurations: the Thermal Smart Sensor configuration is recommended for measuring elevated skin temperatures, and incorporates measurement tools and alarms. The Image Streaming configuration provides multiple thermal streaming capabilities to help optimise process control, improve quality assurance, or identify potential failures that could shut down a production line.

Flir is also currently in beta testing for an automated elevated skin temperature screening software solution that is fully integrated with its US Food and Drug Administration-certified thermal cameras. The solution is designed to increase the accuracy, ease-of-use, and speed of existing screening procedures.

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