How Thermal Screening Works At Airports To Curb The Pandemic

Posted by Machine Sense on

It has been a year since we have been fighting one of the deadliest pandemics of all times – the COVID-19. In the beginning, we had no clue about how to stop, treat or control the situation and went for complete lockdowns. But now, we know, even if less, but we know how to deal with it. We have successfully managed to come up with vaccines within a year, a tremendous development in the history of pandemics in the world. But that does not mean that we should relax the protective measures right now. It will take time before we can vaccinate the entire population, so precautions are the only way to stay safe.

During the lockdown phase, we made sure that no aircraft was operating across nations, to stay secluded and isolated in our respective countries and fight. Globalization was down for the moment, but soon, flights resumed to begin economic recovery at full pace. However, there is no denying that airports are one of the biggest infection hubs, where people from all over the country, and the world at large, meet. So authorities are leaving no stone unturned to ensure proper screening at the airports to prevent raising the level of infections. Careful observation, pre-boarding tests, and analyzing symptoms are the three-fold measures to contain the spread of infections. As about 70% of people with the infection depict feverish symptoms, fever-screening has become essential in airports. Advanced screening devices are being integrated into the exit and entry gates, and the data of all passengers are being collected to track the infection graph.

In this post, we will discuss how the screening works at the airports to give you some relief regarding safety. It will also help you stay prepared; in case you are planning to travel soon.

How passenger-screening takes place at the airports

According to health experts and our observations of one year, the virus starts showing symptoms within five days of infecting someone. Hence, if a person gets infected at the airport itself, you cannot expect him/her to get a fever immediately. Hence, they come out of the airports, untouched and undetected spreading the infection elsewhere for four-five days until they get detection, as symptoms start to show. That is why testing has been made mandatory for international travelers coming from worse-infected nations, or even the ones that are having a lower rate of infections.

However, this is not to say that thermal screening at the airports is not effective at all. It is, for the domestic passengers, as well as airport officials and workers. Wide-scale screening is necessary to keep everyone safe and reduce the chances of contraction to a minimum. If you observe the data, you will notice that only 9% of infected travelers get detected at the entry-screening phase. Nearly 49% of them may get detected at the exit screening. But it needs to be mentioned that at least 42% of people may pass the screening at both stages, thus taking the virus outside. Given the nature of the virus, it is almost impossible to get a 100% detection rate, but higher efficiency of the screening process can better safety standards. 

Previously, thermal guns that detected temperature from the forehead were used extensively by the airport officials to bar the entry of anyone showing elevations in body temperature. But this changed with time, or to be precise, evolved further. The health experts realized that the forehead is not a suitable place to detect fever, as the readings may get altered by sweat droplets, makeup, headgear, hair strands, and more such factors. As a result, the wrist-forward technology was introduced. As the wrists are uncovered most of the time, with minimum hair, makeup, and sweat, the readings were nearly accurate. Nowadays, forehead screening has become almost obsolete, with all public places adopting the wrist/fist forward method. The advanced thermal screening devices used in the airport take temperature measurements from the wrist, thus increasing process efficiency.

Why the wrist is a suitable place to detect fever?

We mostly put the traditional thermometer inside our moth, under the tongue, or in the armpit, to check the temperature. However, the modern, no-contact thermometers detect fever from the wrist or fist. Why is it so? Well, any elevations in the core body temperature are carried to all blood vessels through circulation. If you make a fist, you will notice the network of blue/green blood vessels running close to the surface of the skin. Did you see them? Well, they run close, just beneath the skin at the wrist. If someone has a fever, thermal detection devices can show that by measuring the temperature from these blood vessels. The readings are almost accurate, unlike the ones taken from the forehead.

Another reason why the advanced thermal scanning devices are taking temperature from the hand is lowering the potentially-harmful effects of infrared rays on the eyes and other sensitive parts of the face. Yes, these fever scanners use infrared rays to detect elevations in core body temperature. Laser beams can do that as well, but the latter can be even more harmful to humans. Those are used in industries to detect the temperature of non-living substances. Although there has been no substantial evidence to prove that the infrared rays are harmful to the skin, the wrist is a safer place to check body temperature.

The challenges of thermal scanning at the airport

There is no doubt that the airports are quite busy places, where people from all over the world rush to reach their destinations. Scanning each person at the entry and exit gates may take time, delaying their schedules. Further, we should not ignore that the place is a hub of COVID-19 infections, no matter how stringent the safety measures. Detecting the temperature of each person also increases chances of exposure of the airport officials, making their jobs riskier. If one can install self-sufficient thermal screening at the airports, such issues can be resolved.

Replacing handheld thermal scanners with automated technologies will help scan more people at a lesser time. It will also increase the efficiency of the process by reducing direct exposure to infections. Advanced infrared scanners can be installed on the security doors and main entrances, exits of the airports, which can be controlled from a control board elsewhere. Close monitoring of the process will help prevent people from misusing it. Further, advanced thermal scanners can be installed on SMART doors to snap them shut without further instructions. The only challenge left to overcome will be increasing the efficiency of the screening process. It can be achieved by going beyond temperature scanning. Authentic passenger data should be collected and stored to track infection graphs in the future and also reduce the liabilities of the airport officials.

Another challenge during airport COVID-19 screening has been the necessity to maintain social distance. While many people oblige by the rules, many others tend to violate them, thus increasing the chances of infections. The officials should keep an eye out for such violations and take necessary actions against people who do not comply. Ignorance is the biggest enemy right now. With care and due diligence, we will emerge victorious in this fight against the virus.

Any idea how thermal scanning can be improved?

The airport authorities need to shuffle options and stay updated with the latest trends in no-contact fever scanning. They have to keep trying newer and better methods to improve thermal screening and help ensure safe passage for all. Any suspicious temperature levels, or other symptoms in an individual, should be detected immediately, and the person should be separated from the crowd to undergo further tests. To make that happen, it is necessary to install a system that can give out alerts on every abnormal reading so that the authorities can take necessary actions immediately.

Another thing that one needs to keep in mind is data storage. It is daunting to collect and store millions of passenger data, including exit and entry temperature readings, physical status, etc. You should install a system that automated the entire process and store data on the cloud to download later. It will also ease the responsibilities of airport officials who can focus on other areas, like organizing the testing procedure of infected individuals, secluding them, and preventing close contact with others. The process needs to be simplified and streamlined to increase its efficiency and enhance the overall safety of the passengers and airport officials.

How Machine Sense can help

Machine Sense is one of the most reliable tech manufacturers in the US that designs advanced technology devices to make our lives easier. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it came up with an improved thermal scanner that it named FeverWarn for extensive use in public spaces. It is a no-touch, self-reliant, infrared fever scanner that detects temperature from the fist of a person. All he/she has to do is put the fist forward under the scanner, which can be mounted on the wall, a stand, or on the desk, to get accurate temperature readings with deviations of +/-0.9F. FDA-compliant FeverWarn uses infrared technology to measure core body temperature, thus ensuring complete safety.

But that is not all. It comes with a USB port to manage external relays through auxiliary doors and gates. Integrating a smart lock into the USB adapter of the thermal scanning device can help control security doors and gates from a distance. Hence, it is fit for any high-security public space, like airports. The device does more than scanning temperature. With the integration of an RFID smart card, it can also identify people being scanned and store the data in its USB memory or on the cloud. Yes, FeverWarn comes with both, thus posing no difficulty in data storage. 

You can always talk to the expert engineers at Machine Sense to customize a FeverWarn scanner according to your specific needs. Highly expandable and customizable, this thermal scanner invariably tops the charts of preference today. Are you worried about the expenses of installing the scanner throughout the airport? Well, you need to know that FeverWarn is designed and developed in the US, thus ensuring maximum affordability. Click here to take a look at its extensive features, a high-end thermal scanner to fight the current pandemic.