How does thermal imaging work?
Also known as heat sensing cameras, thermal imaging cameras can accurately calculate body temperature, within half a degree from a distance of up to 6.5m away. With the ability to measure the temperatures of multiple people at once, the thermal imaging technology uses infrared radiation to detect and record the temperature of a subject. Infrared is on the electromagnetic spectrum, so its energy is picked up by the heat sensing cameras through vibrating molecules as heat is produced. The higher the subject’s temperature, the higher the radiation they emit, which the camera can detect even in total darkness.
How can this technology help with the COVID-19 situation?
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, technology is playing a major role in containing the virus. Gaining a better understanding of people’s symptoms, will enable businesses to ensure their staff and customers are better protected from potential carriers of the virus.
The NHS reports that one of the two major symptoms of the virus is a high temperature. Whilst it is not necessary to monitor your temperature constantly, a thermal imaging camera could alert staff members of potential carriers with a higher than average temperature. This would allow shops, businesses and large premises to identify if someone enters the building as a potential COVID-19 carrier and thus decreasing the chance of the virus spreading.
A heat signature camera is already being tested at Bournemouth airport to see how effective they would be in this setting, as the world begins to prepare for transition out of lockdown.
Which companies are already implementing it?
We have already installed a number of screening cameras in business premises such as factory entrances. This has allowed firms to reopen sooner or even remain open throughout the pandemic whilst ensuring the risk of COVID-19 spreading across the workforce is mitigated.
Amazon have also been using this technology in their warehouses, screening workers to detect those with potential fevers. A long-range thermal heat camera has proven to be a much faster way of temperature monitoring than a handheld alternative. What’s more, a long-range thermal heat camera poses less risk of the virus spreading in comparison to using human contact methods of temperature taking.
All the data is then collected remotely to be assessed. A spokesperson for Amazon said that the move had resulted in a more streamlined operation at their warehouses, allowing for minimal disruption to the day whilst still ensuring they can prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Businesses in the US have also been implementing similar technology as shops there begin to reopen. CBS news reported that the technology is being used across many sites in the US, including a small chain of grocery shops in Georgia and across airports, healthcare centres and even apartment buildings in New York.
Will this kind of technology be available to small businesses?
Stores will need to take extra precautions in order to protect their staff and customers. But what kind of thermal camera would be suitable for a small business and how practical would it be to operate?
An independent business could easily implement this technology with the Long-Range Thermal Bullet, which allows for temperature readings of up to 6.5mm. Alternatively, businesses could also use the Short-Range Thermal Dome, a similar system that works at a shorter distance, between 0.8m and 3m. Both long- and short-range options also include optional supporting audio alarms. Both these devices have a body temperature camera, which can measure readings of 30-45℃ and can measure accuracy to within +0.5c. At Tod Security we supply, install and maintain these high-quality body temperature cameras. Learn more about the thermal imaging cameras we stock here.
Thermal Imaging and our fight against COVID-19
Screening fevers of customers will help increase our knowledge on the spread of the virus and therefore help us to reduce its spread. This technology is accessible for small, independent retailers to install in their premises. By taking these precautionary measures, retailers will be able to better protect staff and customers to minimise the spread of coronavirus.