Smart thermal cameras

Łukasz Korneluk, CEO Pragmasoft

Unusual times require special measurements. Sometimes it’s possible to adapt existing solutions to work in specific situations. As it turns out – we base fever detection on a procedure that was invented back in the eighteenth century. 

Flexibility is the key 

Before COVID-19, Pragmasoft team worked hard to change the profile of our infrared cameras. It was the beginning of the flu season and we thought that a system, which helps companies in space management, now can take care of their employees' health. We started to measure human body temperature in givenspaces, as well as examine how people move and if they keep a certain distance from dangerous machines, for example in factories. It took weeks for us to develop specific AI models, but our effort paid off. When the pandemic broke out, the idea was born naturally - IR could be efficiently used for preventive measures on a large scale. It means that we can help in detecting various infections, like COVID or flu, in the future. The only condition is to be flexible and know what factors affect the accuracy of the measurement. That’s how was born. 

Camera is not enough 

In 1800, William Herschel found out that all objects with a temperature higher than absolute zero emits heat radiation - he discovered infrared waves. At the beginning of the 2000s, thanks to the same waves, we were exchanging ringtones and pictures between our first mobile phones.  

Why am I writing about this?  

Because for this to happen, infrared had to be combined with a different type of technology. Today we face exactly the same situation. Cameras are not enough. They need the support of artificial intelligence. It takes into account ambient parameters, it distinguishes the real body temperature from the instantaneous heating of the skin, caused, for example, by elevated room temperature. That is why I was baffled, seeing the use of old-fashioned “thermometer guns” in public places just after the pandemic broke out. For example, at airports - when they were still full of people. 


Infrared + artificial intelligence = safety 

I can’t imagine further temperature scanningthe way it’s been done so far... the same as during Ebola virus epidemic, almost 20 years ago. COVID-19 has changed our lives and I feel that we are slowly beginning to find ourselves in a new reality. Our social life will differ from how it looked like not so long ago. And it will require extensive technological support. I’m sure that we should all learn a lot from each other. I’ll be more than happy to share my knowledge in the field of infrared waves, supported by artificial intelligence models. 

  Intelligent infrared helps: 

  • to measure temperature of many people at the same time;;

  • to measure the distance between people - e.g. in a queue to shops or offices 

  • to manage the capacity of rooms - stores, air halls, stations and many others; 

  • to adapt to new sanitary requirements of smart homes and office buildings. 

There is one more advantage of such technology. Low resolution thermal imaging means that it’s impossible to recognize the person on the screen. It ensures privacy at a high, European, level. I read about first police robots patrolling Chinese cities. Yes, mobile devices check temperature of passers-by there and determine the presence of protective masks on their faces, but also ...their identity. Fortunately, public health can be cared for in a much more ethical way - giving IR a second life. 

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That's one small step for name, one giant leap... Bleh.

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