Accurate temperature detection with thermal cameras

Issue 4 2020 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

The world is in the grip of a pandemic which we were not prepared for and which has changed everything. From social distancing to being quarantined, almost every person in the world has experienced the effects of the coronavirus, even if they have not been infected.

We know the danger is nowhere near over, but we have to get back to work and out of the house. In order to facilitate the freedom of movement as well as being able to conduct business safely, organisations have to ensure that their places of operation are safe. In addition, they need to do what they can to identify people who may have the virus and exclude them from coming into contact with healthy co-workers, customers or service providers.

One of the most common symptoms of the COVID-19 virus is running a fever. Organisations in the public and private sectors are therefore looking for ways in which they can identify people with a high temperature quickly and accurately. This will not only protect others, but also allow those who have been diagnosed with the virus to receive treatment.

A thermal solution

One way of doing this is with Infrared thermometers, but this requires the device to be held close to the person for a few seconds. Not only is the person measuring the temperature too close to the subject, running the risk of being infected, but it takes too long in environments where there are many people moving about.

Thermal cameras, on the other hand, can handle this task with ease, and safely. Already proven in the security market, these cameras provide accurate body temperature readings that can quickly identify people who have elevated body temperatures and may be infected. Of course, a high temperature does not mean a person definitely has the virus, but it is a safe starting point when keeping large numbers of people safe.

Examples of where thermal cameras can and have been used successfully as a prevention mechanism include in airport check-in or boarding queues, at shopping centres, at religious or sporting events, education campuses, hospitals and so forth.

Some people complain that thermal cameras are more expensive than other devices, such as Infrared thermometers. However, it must be noted that a thermal camera can measure the temperature of multiple people at once without requiring any human interaction – the technology does the work and raises a warning when a person with an elevated temperature is detected. Most importantly, it can be done while maintaining a safe distance from subjects, thereby preventing the spread of the disease.

In addition, thermals can measure an individual’s temperature to an accuracy of within 0,3°C in any lighting conditions when combined with the latest artificial intelligence algorithms as well as ‘blackbody devices’, which help to calibrate the temperature measurement process in order to ensure very accurate readings.

Data collected can further be matched with facial recognition systems to rapidly identify those who may be ill, or omit those who have already been tested and cleared. The data can also be saved on servers for future reference, if required.

Thermal solutions from Dahua

Dahua Technology has offered the security industry thermal solutions for many years and has recently launched two thermal cameras specifically for accurate temperature measurement.

The DH-TPC-BF3221 is a thermal network hybrid bullet camera and the DH-TPC-SD8421 is a network hybrid speed dome camera, both recording thermal and visual light images. The thermal cameras can accurately measure temperatures between 30°C and 45°C, with an accuracy of 0,3°C when used with Dahua’s blackbox device – and to an accuracy of 1°C without the blackbox.

For environments where additional safety is required, Dahua also provides a range of acrylic glass temperature measurement turnstiles, which can be integrated with other identifications solutions, from cards to biometrics.


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