Optica, the manufacturer of Opto Scan Thermal Scanners, is at pains to remind the public that thermal scanners are not medical devices.

As such, they cannot be relied upon to single-handedly detect or diagnose coronavirus (COVID-19), SARS, H1N1, or a fever.

However, they are incredibly effective at detecting small deviations in the surface temperature of objects and people. As such, they are a useful tool in screening for people that might be showing the symptoms of a viral infection, such as a fever.

Our thermal scanners are so sensitive that people often think they can see through things with them. For example, if you point one of these devices at a wall you can often ‘see’ the studs behind the wall. You are not actually seeing through the wall, but rather observing the minute differences in surface temperature where the wall has a support structure behind it, and where it does not.

Thermal Scanners Detect Elevated Body Temperature

This is what they most certainly can detect. After all, someone with an elevated body temperature may have coronavirus, a fever, or they may have just been for a run.

Which Thermal Scanners Have Fever Detection ‘Screening Mode’?

The screening mode shows:

  • The sampled average temperature.
  • The alarm temperature.
  • The measured temperature.

One of the key benefits is the audio alarm that sounds if someone passes through the detection area with an elevated temperature. This makes these cameras ideal for relatively high traffic areas such as airports, train stations, ports, and large office buildings.

Other Thermal Scanning Options To Detect People Who May Have Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The above mentioned thermal scanners are relatively expensive. While they are the best tool for the job, there are some lower-cost thermal cameras which are also worth considering.

Opto Scan Non-Contact IR Thermometer have an inbuilt ‘above alarm’ mode. Unlike the ‘screening mode’ described above, this is a visual alarm.

As such, these body temperature scanner can also be used to detect people with a coronavirus fever. They’re more suited to situations where the flow of people is less than at an airport or mass transit terminal. I am thinking of applications such as scanning workers as they enter a factory. Or scanning staff and customers as they enter your workplace.

Other Options to Detect Elevated Body Temperature

As you go further down Opto Scan’s range, many of the cameras are still accurate and useful for a wide range of applications. But their lower thermal resolution means you need to be more careful when taking readings of human body temperature.

In summary, thermal cameras can be more useful than other screening options like non-contact thermometers. Non-contact thermometers need the subject to be very close (15cm from forehead). Manufacturers of non-contact thermometers also suggest taking three measurements of a subject and taking the average, which is slow to check many people.

On the other hand, as you can see from the examples above, thermal cameras can provide a quicker and more detailed scan of people as they pass through an area. Unlike non-contact thermometers, thermal cameras have an array of thermal detectors constantly taking an average reading of the target area.

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