Goleta Magazine 2020-2021 - 10

Infrared in the Pandemic
W H E N T H E S A R S O U T B R E A K first hit the globe
back in 2003, FLIR Systems Inc. began manufacturing thermal infrared cameras to detect elevated skin temperature,
seeing that a high fever was one of the onset symptoms.
Nearly 20 years later, in the middle of the devastating
coronavirus pandemic, FLIR is just one Goleta infrared
technology company that has yet again begun to see an
increased interest in
those devices.
" Thermal cameras play
a critical role as a frontline screening tool, "
said Chris Bainter, vice
president of development at FLIR.

Top: Seek Thermal's device
Seek Scan, an engineer
at FLIR. Willie Jones, Lead
Production Technician
working in a clean room at
FLIR Systems.

10

GOLETA MAGAZINE

Thermal cameras allow for an accurate temperature measurement from a safe social distance, something that oral
or ear thermometers just can't provide, according to Bainter.
The cameras measure the inner canthus, located right next
to the tear duct, to get the most accurate reading. The inner
canthus area is less susceptible to environmental factors
that might lead to false positives, he added.

Goleta infrared
companies pivot operations
to help combat COVID-19

Thermal cameras also allow screeners to check for elevated body temperature from a safe social distance. The Seek Scan camera sits
on a tripod so in certain cases it
may not even need an operator to
be present, Muench said.

" While the cameras themselves don't detect COVID, they
accurately and efficiently work as an elevated screening
tool that can be indicative of a fever, which is a symptom of
COVID-19. "

While both serve the same purpose, FLIR's thermal cameras operate in a slightly different manner
than the Seek Scan. FLIR's cameras use machine learning
and artificial intelligence to auto detect the face and eye
region in the picture, speeding up the process and allowing
for proper resolution, sensitivity and stability.

FLIR is not the only company to pivot into manufacturing
heat-detection devices for the coronavirus. Seek Thermal, a
partner of Raytheon Vision Systems, began manufacturing
its own thermal screening system, the Seek Scan device.

The Seek Scan incorporates a piece of equipment that acts as
a heat reference, Muench said, which holds a constant temperature that allows for comparison between the reference
and the face in order to get an accurate reading.

" Creating the underlying technology to build these systems
has been in the works since 2015, " said Mike Muench, CEO
of Seek Thermal.

" We had to design our own heat source, which we did very
rapidly in the time that the pandemic broke out, " he said.

" When it became clear that this pandemic was a big deal,
we looked at our inventory and realized that we had all the
pieces to be able to put a solution together fairly quickly. "

FLIR, however, managed to solve for that heat reference
within the camera so it had no need for the extra piece of
equipment, Bainter said. FLIR cameras look at the previous
10 people who were screened to use as a reference point.

B Y J A D E M A R T I N E Z- P O G U E , N O OZ H A W K S TA F F W R I T E R

SBSCChamber.com


https://www.thermal.com/ http://www.SBSCChamber.com

Goleta Magazine 2020-2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Goleta Magazine 2020-2021

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