Using Security Cameras as Thermometers

Recently there has been a spike in video surveillance manufacturers advertising that their cameras can detect fevers. This may be true for some but how accurate are they? 2-3 degrees variance on either side can have a big impact, especially when scanning crowds. In most instances these cameras are used as a primary detection tool, and those that are identified are examined further, individually. As a matter of fact, each manufacturer’s software and camera capabilities are key to making this happen, and it requires more than a thermal camera and some software that alarms within an industrial range of temperatures.

Though there are several manufacturers claiming this capability, one has been recently singled out publicly. Athena Security, based in Austin, Texas, claims to be able to detect people with COVID-19 through their AI software, to within ½ degree of accuracy. Available right from their website at a starting price of $8,900.  Given that the virus may be active in a person several days before a fever presents, this is quite interesting. To the credit of the company, their sales material appears to recommend that users examine one person at a time through choke-point locations. However, an independent research authority on electronic security has openly accused Athena of falsifying their marketing imagery to increase sales.

There are companies who have received certification from the FDA for the use of their systems for medical use. Among these are Infrared Cameras Inc., FLIR, and Omnisense. These systems are honed to be accurate within decimal point ranges. Typically, these systems cost upwards of $20,000. However, they are much more accurate.

In the end, I’m not so much worried about getting pulled out of line and checked for a fever that I don’t have. However, I am genuinely concerned about the businesses and governments using technology that isn’t precise, creating a false sense of security. This only increases the risk of exposure to us all. If you are considering implementing this type technology, reach out and let us help find a solution for you.


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