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Thermal Image Body Temperature Detection Technology Helps Preventing COVID-19 Spread

Image source: itri.org.tw

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is committed to developing epidemic prevention technology amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of its Thermal Image Body Temperature Detection Technology together with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and infrared thermal image colour displays enables the detection of forehead temperatures for multiple individuals concurrently. Supported by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the technology offers a non-contact, high-precision, full-colour detection solution that can improve contact tracing and thus contain the spread of COVID-19.

When the Thermal Image Body Temperature Detection Technology was first unveiled, ITRI has been helping various sectors install hundreds of systems for temperature screening upon entrance to the facilities, including at the MOEA, companies, universities, and many other locations. This year, entry and exit controls have been added to the design of these systems, paving the way for even more comprehensive monitoring mechanisms.

According to the survey by the Business Research Company, the demand for infrared thermometers has soared due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The market for these devices has reached US$17.82 million, a rise of over 55% compared to 2019. Unlike most thermal imaging cameras that offer only a single-colour image, ITRI’s new generation technology is innovative in integrating colour cameras and thermal imaging sensors to store colour images of people with elevated body temperatures.

The new feature of colour imagery greatly improves entry and exit controls, addressing the needs of government agencies and private companies that have large numbers of people passing through their doors. In practice, ITRI has helped companies integrate the body temperature detection system with the company’s employee ID data for the access control at its Hsinchu facility. This also meets the requirements of the real-name system by the Central Epidemic Command Center, while reducing monitoring time and manpower needs by over two-thirds compared to manual temperature measurement.

ITRI’s Thermal Image Body Temperature Detection Technology combines AI to enable automated detection of forehead temperatures, avoiding errors caused by interference from other heat sources. Temperature compensation technology is utilised in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT) to sense the distance between detection device and heat source, along with ambient temperature and humidity levels.

The system then compensates and calibrates the data detected and dynamically uploads daily temperature information of the individual, along with ambient data to a database. Indoor and outdoor measurement errors can be maintained within a range of +/- 0.3 degrees Celsius, offering an accuracy of up to 90%.

Some companies have pointed out that they introduced temperature detection devices using ITRI’s Thermal Image Body Temperature Detection Technology since the beginning of the year, with the equipment exhibiting a high degree of stability. This has effectively alleviated the need for handheld temperature measurement equipment, while improving accuracy and speed. This also means a reduction in unnecessary contact among frontline workers, thereby increasing safety in the workplace.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, Taiwan has been inventing many digital solutions to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Taiwan managed the pandemic largely by harnessing the national digital power, including the flexible and meaningful employment of technologies, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in governance, and supporting this with comprehensive policy planning for the whole society.

Over the past few decades, the Taiwanese government has developed policies to promote digitalisation in the healthcare industry. One of the most renowned actions was developing the National Health Insurance (NHI) system which has accumulated a comprehensive database and allows for further innovative applications, such as the NHI MediCloud system, “My Health Bank” service, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) analysis of NHI.  This digitised healthcare system, therefore, formed the basis for Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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