As the economy and most of the country plans to reopen come the end of April, experts are hoping that thermal imaging cameras will help keep people safe from the threat of the deadly coronavirus. But is it enough to carry the country back into safety again?
Thermal Imaging Cameras: The New Normal?
Typically used in firefighting, thermal imaging cameras (colloquially known as TIC) are thermographic cameras that render infrared radiation as visible light to let people see areas of heat through smoke, heat-permeable barriers or darkness. Now, however, they are being used to scan people’s temperature from a safe distance to see whether a person has a fever or not because it’s one of the most common coronavirus symptoms. This way companies that use them can either decide to deny the person entry or require further screening.
As such, these TICs are the latest devices that businesses hope will help reopen the economy and the country altogether, all while keeping people safe from the deadly virus.
“What we’re seeing is there will be a new normal that will involve thermal screening as a frontline tool,” Chris Bainter, director of global business development at FLIR Systems, said. Since 2003, FLIR has been producing thermal imaging cameras and has even used them for the SARS epidemic that occurred on the same year.
In fact, several companies have already started producing more of these devices since the start of the outbreak and more and more businesses have started implementing the use of them. For example, a store in Georgia has started using it on customers. If someone’s temperature is above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
, they are asked to leave and the store offers to do their shopping for them.
“The key is that application is not about an absolute temperature measurement. It’s more about detecting those individuals with elevated body temperature higher than the last 10 people that had been screened,” Bainter said.
However, Bainter is also quick to say that the device does not detect coronavirus. As such, he has also called for businesses to make further precautions before they reopen fully.