By Adina Strong
People react to panic in two different ways: there are those who view it as an inhibitor, and others who view it as an opportunity to do something creative. In response to the anxiety, fear, and hysteria caused by COVID-19, scientists around the globe are soaring to new heights to create machinery and gadgets aimed at improving the lives of those suffering from the virus, as well as to protect and enrich the lives of those who are fortunate enough to have not been infected.
One of the most fascinating and new inventions is the Thermal Scanner released by Scylla, an engineering company based in Armenia. The concept of thermal imaging was first introduced in 1929 by Kálmán Tihanyi, a Hungarian physicist who used an infrared-sensitive electronic television camera for aircraft defense. While invisible to the naked eye, thermal cameras can detect and capture different levels of infrared light and translate that information to a temperature value. Since we humans transfer heat through infrared radiation, these thermal cameras are able to capture our own internal temperature.
Based on this old design, CEO and founder of Scylla, Albert Stepanyan and his team of engineers, invented a body temperature detector (BDT) to help the world function with the “new normal” introduced by COVID-19. Education sites, hospitals, government buildings, airports and more will have to find new and efficient ways to adhere to COVID-19 regulations in order to ensure safety during the pandemic. The BDT works by recognizing someone with a high temperature amongst a large crowd through the use of thermal imaging cameras and artificial intelligence. Additionally, the BDT can identify people who are not wearing masks. This technology can be extremely useful in busy work places, crowded public areas and the like. This technology can also save time and space, thereby increasing productivity, efficiency, comfort and the safety of professionals who will no longer have to be stopped and scanned upon entering the worksite. The Scylla Thermal Scanner has the same appearance and multiple target screening capabilities as regular security cameras found in these common areas, but have the additional ability of detecting temperature.
While this technology seems extremely promising, given its potential to “slow the spread … [and] operate … business as usual,” many potential problems may arise. Implementation of this technology may prove to be difficult; the cost and installation fee for this software on this grand of a scale won’t be cheap. Additionally, problems can arise when individuals don’t authorize the scan performance. Most importantly, this BDT can’t actually stop the real problem at hand: the virus. A high temperature is only one of many factors pointing to COVID-19 infection and many infected people can slip through the cracks. All things considered, however, if this is the new normal, Scylla is taking the right steps to ensuring smooth sailing.