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How FLIR thermal cameras are being used to monitor public health globally

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article image FLIR A320 Tempscreen was especially developed for thermal screening in high traffic applications

Thermal imaging cameras from FLIR Systems are being used widely across the world to monitor the health of large groups of people in an efficient and accurate manner.

Primarily designed for industrial and night vision applications, FLIR thermal imaging cameras are being employed as an effective mass screening device by public health organisations for detecting individuals with an elevated body temperature.

FLIR cameras are being used around the world at airports, seaports, office buildings and other mass gathering areas to provide rapid, efficient thermal screening of high traffic areas. FLIR’s thermal cameras are particularly well suited to this application because they can provide a temperature reading of a person’s face in a matter of seconds.

Thermal imaging: an effective tool to detect elevated body temperatures

Thermal imaging cameras produce thermal images or heat pictures that detect and display even the smallest temperature differences. This capability enables thermal cameras to create a visual heat map of skin temperatures in real time. Being very sensitive devices, the cameras can measure temperature differences as low as 0.05°C. Additionally, built-in functions such as colour and sound alarms will be triggered when a certain temperature threshold is exceeded, allowing the operator to instantly decide whether or not the subject needs to be referred for further screening. Since the total evaluation process takes less than a second, thermal imaging technology is very useful for rapidly screening large numbers of people.

The application: measuring the temperature of the human body

The objective of a thermal imaging camera in this application is to detect elevated body temperatures of people in a crowd, allowing further assessment. The environmental conditions of the location are factored in when taking the measurement. The thermal imaging camera automatically detects the hottest temperature within an area set by the operator, and a colour alarm makes it easy to decide whether a person needs further screening.

Quick to install and use, the thermal camera automatically calculates the average temperature of the first 10 people it scans and defines their average. The operator can then use this average as the basis for an alarm that will be triggered when the measured temperature reaches a specific temperature threshold above the average temperature.

Sound and colour alarms

All areas on the subject’s face that are hotter than a predefined temperature value can be displayed as a designated colour on the thermal image. This built-in alarm allows users to make an immediate decision about the subject with regard to further screening. The sound alarm will also similarly go off if the temperature exceeds a predefined value.

A small investment to enable high traffic screening

Major airports all over the world are already using FLIR cameras and have applied this methodology to screen all people entering and leaving the country. It is a quick, non-contact method that is safe for both the camera operator and the people being screened. FLIR thermal imaging cameras can be operated by non-specialists after a few hours of training. 

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