In early 2020, a new virus was discovered. The virus is spread through people coming into contact with each other. Airports are screening passengers now to attempt to stop the spreading of the virus. In the past, airports would perform a check-up on each passenger, whether they are sick or not. It can be a tedious and lengthy process, so they have been exploring other techniques to make it more efficient and effective. Using sensors and cameras can provide technology to help airports screen passengers quickly. Infrared sensors, as heat scanners with a camera system, can determine whether a passenger is at risk. You can detect the temperature of a passenger at the port of entry. It cannot confirm the virus, but it can confirm a fever, which is a strong sign of a viral infection.
Detecting Body Heat
Infrared light can be detected from the human body in the form of heat. You can’t see it with the naked eye since it emits light at a different wavelength. Infrared sensors are typically used for heat scanners because they pick up on the heat our bodies radiate. They pick these up by their color. The color is not how it would appear in visible light but more for the purpose of identifying the temperature of the body. Computers generate a color palette that represents a temperature scale. They create a color palette for normal temperature. If the temperature is higher than normal, it is a different color to alert the screeners. When screening a passenger at the airport, if their temperature is too high, it will flash red. This allows the screeners to alert medical professionals.
The device that makes everything possible is a thermal camera. Thermal cameras are sensitive to wavelengths from 1,000nm to 14,000nm. They are not widely available in retail stores. You can order them from specialty shops, though. Most of them are used for scientific, research, industrial, or law enforcement purposes. You can buy an infrared camera easily, though. Some of them connect to a smartphone through a USB or USB-C connection. In Japan, they made a system for a screening camera with a built-in alarm system. It takes a thermal image, visual image, and isothermal image to compare temperatures. The image will show if someone has a higher temperature to allow screeners to isolate them.
Since the SARS and Ebola outbreak, airports have been a lot stricter about screening. Not all airports use heat scanners daily, but when there are emergencies like Covid-19 thermal cameras can be helpful. They have been found to be safe to use as they don’t emit any hazardous radiation that can impact human health. With the assistance of AI, these cameras can be helpful in screening passengers. They can detect a fever in a passenger and let the screeners know who needs to be isolated. Also, the systems are contactless which can protect the screeners so they don’t catch the virus.