Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Thermal Imaging Tech to be used Against COVID-19

Thermal Imaging Tech to be used Against COVID-19

Alabama State University will start using thermal imaging tech that has the ability to detect some symptoms of the Coronavirus. This technology is to be utilized in high traffic areas on campus.

When visitors first entered Alabama State University, and headed towards the John Garrick Hardy Student Center early on a Tuesday morning, they were prompted to do exactly the opposite of what almost every public health office has recommended – to remove their masks for a moment and then put them back on.

Why? Because the Draganfly is on duty, the smart thermal imaging tech with thermal temperature assessment devices that can screen for COVID-19 symptoms, with the ability to read biomarkers like heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature, all by scanning the image of a person’s face.

The smart device is contactless, reads temperatures in about 30 seconds and requires only that individuals remove all face coverings, including glasses. No data is collected, and images are not stored. ASU is the first educational facility in the state to unveil the new technology.  

As students steadily return to campus and to their dormitories, COVID-19 cases have spiked at schools across the country. The University of Alabama has made headlines after a major sharp rise in cases due to students attending crowded parties and who continue to ignore social distancing or sanitary measures. This prompted the mayor of Tuscaloosa to shut down bars entirely for two weeks. ASU administrators claim that the campus is Coronavirus safe, and they want to keep it that way.

The thermal imaging tech will be deployed in high traffic areas located across the campus such as the Hardy Student Center. In addition, ASU has obtained five Vital Intelligence Smart Thermal Assessment Stations, that are equipped with displays that indicate if individuals are placed six feet apart abiding by social distancing and will highlight their movements. As the people move and shift on screen a circular pod under their feet alternates between green and red. Green indicates a safe distance, while red indicates it’s not safe.

Even though masks have been made mandatory, the university hopes that the assessment machines can add another layer of safety to aid health staff, faculty, and students by offering them a straightfoward way of identifying people that might need to be tested for Coronavirus.

The thermal imaging tech was developed through a partnership between researchers at the University of South Australia and the Australian Department of Defense. It is FDA approved. The Draganfly mixes a combination of computer vision, AI, alongside high-resolution cameras to monitor a person’s vital sigs

ASU students, faculty, and staff that are flagged for elevated temperatures or other symptoms will be directed to the campus health center for further testing and evaluation.