Is Temperature Screening Effective at Detecting Coronavirus?
“The new normal.” We’ve all heard this term thrown around lately. But what does it mean? Right now, it seems like dishonest companies want this new normal to include accepting lies and misinformation as consumers, just because we’re nervous about being in a pandemic. In this article, I will expose three myths about thermal camera temperature screening devices and why so many of them on the market are not accurate.
To understand how temperature screening devices work with thermal cameras, we first need to know a little bit about how thermal cameras detect temperature. Thermal cameras detect the temperature of people and objects by recognizing levels of infrared light. Even though the human eye can’t see the infrared light, special cameras “thermal cameras” can. Inside each thermal camera are pixels that capture the infrared radiation emitted from an object. Every object produces infrared radiation and the hotter an object is, the more radiation it produces.
With a better understanding of thermal cameras and they work, we can start exposing the biggest lies surrounding the world of temperature screening devices.
Myth #1- Accuracy Can Be Found Anywhere
Generally, temperature screening devices attempt to pull their temperature from the forehead. On the surface, this idea seems to make sense. It’s a relatively large target area, (some bigger than others if you know what I mean), and it’s easy for a computer to recognize where a forehead is. With that said, the forehead a terrible location for a temperature screening device to scan. Why?
Skin temperature, especially on the forehead, fluctuates significantly throughout the day based on an individual’s activity. Imagine you’re late for work. To make up time, you start to jog from the parking lot to the office building. When you get to the lobby, you’ve probably burnt some calories and broke a sweat. Now you’re standing in a line, ready to get your temperature taken from a temperature screening device and you get a reading of 102.1°. You feel fine, so what do you do? Do you check in to the local emergency room? Do you try to work from home for the day? You decide to sit down, cool off, and eventually get screened again. After sitting for 10-minutes to cool off, you get screened again and have a safe temperature of 98.1°. This means your initial test was just a false positive. False positives are extremely common when screenings take temperatures from the forehead. The scary thing is, false negatives (someone has an elevated temperature but doesn’t show it) are also common when the forehead is used to take temperatures. The only way for a temperature screening device to get an accurate reading is by taking temperatures from the inner canthus (inner eye area) of an individual. This temperature is closer to a person’s actual body temperature and does not fluctuate the way forehead skin can. If the temperature screening device your company is using doesn’t take temperatures from the inner part of the eye, it’s likely ineffective and putting everyone at risk.
Myth #2- It’s Possible to Screen Multiple People at Once
Earlier in the article, we discussed how thermal cameras work and that knowledge is pertinent to understanding why pixelation matters when checking a temperature. The more focused a camera can be on a specific area, the more accurate it is. You will get added accuracy from 1,000 pixels focused on 1” of an area than you will be if those same 1,000 pixels focused on a 2” area. The farther away a subject is from the thermal camera, the larger the focusing area is, thus giving it a less accurate reading.
A temperature screening device cannot effectively scan multiple people or any person that does not stand still for a brief moment. The pixels aren’t able to focus on a specific area long enough. Any screening device that claims otherwise is going to be consistently inaccurate.
Myth #3- Thermal Cameras Are Consistently Accurate
When dealing with human body temperature, small variations have big consequences. It’s extremely important to keep temperature screening to a small and controlled environment to ensure consistent accuracy. The best way to do this is by maintaining the temperature screening device indoors, in a temperature-stabilized facility. Another great way to keep temperature screening devices accurate is by using a reference emitter or what’s known as a “black body calibration.”
A reference emitter is a device that “communicates” with a thermal camera by setting a constant temperature of an area to use as a reference point. This reference point creates an added layer of accuracy by relaying any environmental fluctuations in temperature that could otherwise cause an inaccurate temperature reading. Without a reference point, the accuracy of a thermal camera decreases dramatically, significantly contributing to increased false positive and false negative tests. Accuracy is the most important aspect of a temperature screening device and without a controlled environment or reference point, your temperature screening device is little more than a feel-good placebo.
Adequate Covid-19 Temperature Screening Solutions
Pandemics tend to scare a lot of people. It’s unfortunate, but many companies try to get consumers to buy faulty products using this fear as a motivator. No temperature screening device can diagnose. Only doctors can fully determine if you have coronavirus. Instead, accurate temperature screening devices should be used as a barrier to protect your businesses from the possibility of being exposed. So, if you are in the market for a temperature screening device, I hope this article gave you clarity on what to look for when purchasing a temperature screening device. Protecting your business and your employees is important to you. That is why you need to select the right temperature screening device for your business. You need something more than just fabricated deception. You need a device that works. If accuracy is important to you, check out one of the most accurate temperature screening kiosks on the market, right here!