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Fight COVID-19 with thermal imaging cameras

» ProSalud

The state of alarm spreads throughout the world due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Fortunately Current technology allows us to combat contagion with solutions based on thermography to help with the detection of fever in people, one of the main symptoms of this infection.

Fever is characterized by an increase in body temperature, which It is easily and quickly detectable from a distance and without contact using an infrared thermal imaging camera.

In sectors such as architecture and engineering, the use of infrared thermography since the last century, and currently this technique offers high quality images for accurate analysis.

In photovoltaic systems it is used to locate short circuits. in the solar cells or other errors, observing a higher temperature in the problem area.

It has been used for a long time for the detection of water leaks in buildings detecting temperature differences in walls. And in the study of structures, where possible moisture can accumulate in the corners.

In the air conditioning sector we can They report thermal insulation failures in a building, visually showing us the heat leaks.

It can be an image of 1 person, screen and text

In electronic devices it has application for rapid PCB testing, observing the temperatures of the board in real time, and being able to prevent a possible failure or defect in its design since a high temperature could indicate overheating of certain components.

Fever detection systems with thermal imaging cameras were used massively with the first Asian epidemics installing fixed fever detection posts in airports in Asia, today the need for these systems appears Worldwide.

Fever detection methods

Using infrared thermography we are able to find people with a body temperature above average of the people reviewed, which may be indicative of having a fever, and consequently these people may be symptomatic of COVID-19, and must be isolated and reviewed with additional diagnostic means.

There are three common methods for measuring temperature in people:

  1. Contact thermometer.
  2. Infrared thermometer that is usually placed in the ear or forehead.
  3. Infrared thermography.

Infrared thermography has the advantage of not having to touch the infected person and maintaining distance from the people being examined.The only requirement to obtain accurate data is to work in a stable temperature environment.

Like every diagnostic technique and equipment, we find some factors that we must know in this context to perform correct analyzes:

  • Body temperature is internal body temperature. With thermographic techniques we can measure the surface temperature which is lower than the internal temperature.
  • The technique is based on detecting a thermal anomaly in a person, from among a group of people with a specific average temperature. We will assume that the majority of the people checked are healthy people and that the person with a higher temperature is the one who will most likely have a fever.
  • Thermal variability between people is high, depending on their metabolism, age or sex, which makes it difficult to 100% case detection of fever within the analysis group.

Fever and infrared thermography

Human beings are isothermal, we need to maintain an optimal operating temperature regardless of the environmental conditions that surround us:

  • If our body heats up excessively, exceeding 37,2ºC, cooling by evaporation (sweating) begins.
  • If our body cools down, bodily processes start to generate heat (shivering, for example).

The normothermic temperature is defined as the temperature of a healthy person, it varies between 36,2ºC and 37,2ºC.


Elevated temperature is the body's response to a disease or infection and is a typical medical indicator, along with blood pressure and pulse. The fever manifests itself with a rise in temperature in the head, facilitating the use of infrared thermography, since that part of the body is usually visible.

Hen/Stag thermal imaging cameras detect radiation intensities related to the body temperature, and el human body is an excellent emitter of measurable infrared radiation.

Fever detection with thermal imaging cameras

The objective is to find people with a temperature higher than the average of the group in a same situation. We will assume that people without fever will have a similar temperature under the same conditions (room temperature, movement, etc.) and that the majority of the group of scanned people does not have a fever. Thus, any individual who has a temperature significantly different from the rest probably has a fever.

In the case of the SARS COV and SARS COV-2 (COVID-19) coronaviruses, it is recommended to detect individuals with a deviation of at least 1ºC compared to the average temperature of the group.

For example, if the average temperature of healthy people was 36.5ºC, a detected temperature of 37.5ºC or higher would be a case of possible fever and should be evaluated with a thermometer.

The location for the fever detection station must be characterized by being a large space with a stable temperature.


The software will allow us to configure the necessary alarms and manage fever detection in areas with greater crowds of people, in addition to allowing faster reviews without compromising reliability.

Obviously, the system can only detect infected people who are already showing symptoms of fever It may allow people to pass who are incubating the disease and do not have fever, but it is undoubtedly a tool that greatly helps to speed up the process of detecting the pandemic.

Let's use our technology to combat and defeat the pandemic, detection is the first step that we can now climb.


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Yair Ramirez
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