Thursday, March 20, 2008

thermal-imaging sensors used in the fever-sensing machines

The machine used for the fever detection is made up of various components. One of these is the thermal-imaging sensor, or thermal camera, which detects body temperature. The thermal-imaging sensors used in the fever-sensing machines actually belong to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), whose soldiers use them together with operational weapon systems for night-surveillance operations, according to Evelyn Ong, manager of corporate communications at DSTA.

For fever screening, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, which is a statutory board overseeing Changi airport operations, has set the cut-off temperature of the sensor at 37.5°C. A person who walks past it and does not have a temperature will appear on the screen in blue, green or other “cool” colours. If the person is slightly feverish, there will be red hues or spots on the exposed forehead and neck areas. If the person has a raging fever, his face will appear mostly red.

Commercially, how much can the fever-sensing units fetch? “As this system was modified to meet the immediate needs of the nation in the war against SARS, the initial batch of the system uses currently available resources (from the SAF and various organisations),” says DSTA’s Ong. “Therefore, it would be difficult to provide an accurate figure on the cost of the system.” Future sets to be produced commercially are expected to use other commercially available thermal-imaging sensors. However, ST Electronics’ Loh estimates the list price of each machine at S$150,000.

The Ministry of Health first approached DSTA earlier this month for possible screening tests that could be deployed immediately in the battle against SARS, says Ong. This followed its already ongoing collaboration in the decoding of the genetic make-up of the SARS virus. “DSTA examined the various capabilities that we have developed and that are available, and the thermal-imaging sensor delivered to the SAF was identified as a possible device to be adapted for temperature screening,” she adds.

The end product of the collaboration is an innovative system made up of a sensor, two flat-screen monitors, a central processing unit and a calibration instrument. DSTA’s Ong says that when the system was first deployed at Changi airport on April 11, the results obtained were “very positive”.

To be sure, the fever sensing machines will give a boost to the image and profile of DSTA and the listed ST Engineering, but the impact of potential commercial sales of the S$150,000 units is not expected to be significant for the latter.

Sebastian Heng, associate director of research at BNP Paribas Peregrine, puts the whole project in perspective: “The machines will be useful for the bottom line, but their potential pales in comparison with ST Engineering’s current order book of S$5 billion.”


Anne-dree-ah said...

Thank you :)

Matt Staggs said...

Thanks for dropping by!

BurningSky said...

That's pretty cool stuff. Thanks for reading my blog..:-)

Anonymous said...

Danka and hail the Futurist, friend of Skuld and our changing world!