How Does External Weather Affect an Infrared Thermometer?

How Does External Weather Affect an Infrared Thermometer?

Posted by Machine Sense on

Because of this ongoing pandemic, no matter where we go, our temperature will be checked. This pandemic has led scientists all over the world to go crazy over the uncertainty and the threat it poses to the human race. Be it an airport, shopping mall, restaurant, or doctor’s clinic, every place has individuals, who are going to point an infrared thermal scanner to our heads and measure our temperatures. This is because the virus spreads more in crowded places, and we must follow all the preventive measures to ensure safety. 

If our temperatures are normal, we can enter or go to any place. But if our temperature is slightly above normal, then we will be prohibited from entering the place. Most of these infrared scanners are manual, so we cannot check the temperatures ourselves. Individuals are operating the device, and they need to stay protected as well. These professionals hold the scanners in front of your forehead to measure your temperature and act on the result shown on the display board. Such manual practices give rise to a lot of complications. Besides being unsafe for the professionals, many a time, the temperature reading is not accurate. As a result, a person who does not have a fever may be barred entry into a certain place, and someone with fever may be allowed, thus increasing the risk factor.

At times, when the outside temperature is too cold, it affects our skin temperature, thus causing it to fall, even if our mean body temperature is high. This means that people with fever or even the COVID-19 infection, may also go undetected and camouflage with the healthy lot. In this article, we will focus on the effects of external weather on the temperature readings of infrared scanners. 

What is an infrared thermometer?

Infrared thermometers are fever scanners that help detect body temperature from a distance by measuring the infrared radiation that emanates from any living object. These are non-invasive, simple, and quick, which makes them easy-to-use. It is the sole reason for most of the public places adopting these no-touch thermometers for measuring body temperature in the pandemic. It allows rapid screening of people without actually interrupting them. For example, people moving out of an airport, or people entering a stadium, etc., can be screened using infrared thermometers without actually inconveniencing them. 

According to Markets & Markets, the market value of infrared thermometers is set to reach 3.6 billion in the next four years, thanks to the pandemic. However, mass-screening tools like these need to be very accurate. And that is exactly where the problem arises. 

The challenges of conventional infrared thermometers

The question is not about the thermometer’s effectiveness. Most of the time, it is quite reliable and accurate. But the fundamental question is, does our forehead temperature have anything to do with our actual body temperature? Does it show fever? In some situations, an abnormal rise in forehead temperature may suggest fever, but the fluctuations in forehead temperature are not always because of our body. It gets hugely affected by the outside temperature as well. 

Countries experiencing cold-temperatures have people with low skin temperature. But it has got nothing to do with their actual health condition. They may have a fever and still have a cold forehead if the weather is that chilly. Here, an infrared thermometer will show a low-temperature reading and the fever will go undetected, risking everyone else’s well-being. 

Similarly, warmer places may face the same problem in the other way. If we do not actually have a fever, but the infrared thermometer gives a high-temperature reading, then we will be prevented from entering certain places, like airports, shopping malls, etc. Hence, our day-to-day activities can get affected big time. 

What do the global experts say regarding this?

An article in CNBC pointed out the inaccuracy factor of the contactless thermometers used in the pandemic. According to the experts, these thermometers are quite efficient in detecting surface temperatures, which can get altered by environmental factors. Even FDA said last year that it will not block a device due to inaccuracy, or other factors, to ensure high availability. However, when you invest in something, it is best to go for the best. 

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control looked at these factors and thus concluded that these infrared thermometers are not at all effective, even if they show accurate readings sometimes. It is also declared in the United Kingdom that devices like these are not at all reliable and we should not depend on them. 

A local TV station reporter recently got her temperature checked in different situations. When she got her temperature checked, it was normal. After this, she walked around in the parking lot for ten minutes. Then she came back to get herself checked again. Her temperature got elevated by about 0.5 degrees. After this, she went inside her car and sat there for about five minutes. She returned and got herself checked again. Her reading was, even more, this time. Many people conducted similar experiments in various ways at various places. This proved that our temperatures can vary largely within a matter of minutes. 

How we can help 

At MachineSense, we have gathered immense popularity with FeverWarn, our no-touch infrared thermometer for fever. Our engineers came up with the FeverWarn temperature scanners, during the pandemic, and it was instantly a global hit. It measures temperature from our wrists and fists. Even if the outside temperature is fluctuating, it won’t have any effect on the reading made by FeverWarn scanners. This is because our hands are mostly covered within sweaters and jackets. So, the temperature of our wrists stays unaffected even when the outside temperature is extremely cold. We just need to pull the sleeves of our sweaters and get ourselves checked. A lot of places switched to FeverWarn and discarded manual thermal scanners. 

So, the current concern is to improve the accuracy of the mass-screening devices. Our scientists have now developed the OPX Technology that can help us solve this inaccuracy problem. This is an algorithmic solution that helps to measure the actual core body temperature. The technology uses some other additional sensor readings such as the spatial distance of scanning and ambient temperature. The FeverWarn mass temperature scanners have this OPX technology inbuilt in them. It helps them to measure the accurate body temperature of the masses. No matter the external weather, people can still be scanned accurately and effectively. Whether the outside weather is cold, humid, or hot, this revolutionary technology ensures accurate core body temperature readings. It is a game-changer in the world of no-touch thermal scanning, thus making the practice a notch up. A FeverWarn device with inbuilt OPX Technology may be costlier than a normal infrared thermometer, but if we do not invest in our health, then where should we invest? Health is the priority right now, as we all are aware. 

Before OPX Technology came into action, the temperature scanners functioned between 70 to 94 degrees. Even if it is inside, its performance was poor in direct sunlight. This was very problematic, especially for the school kids and others as well. Because of this, the temperature readings were not at all reliable. So, how does the OPX technology solve this problem? This technology has spatial geometric sensors. In combination with that, it has an artificially intelligent algorithm. This is associated with the filtering of the effects of hot or cold weather. The OPX technology is thus way ahead of its time because it can also manage the problem of indirect or direct sunlight. At MachineSense, we are soon going to implement this in specialized shields and housings. Thus, infrared scanners can be used at entrances. 

At first, we came up with FeverWarn. Now we have this OPX Technology, which is again, revolutionary. Soon, hospitals, airports, schools, shopping malls, every place is going to need this. It may make all other mass-screening tools obsolete, as everyone will switch to the brand new OPX Technology.