The COVID-19 coronavirus has spread all over the world at a very rapid rate since the end of 2019, and is holding our society in its grip. In order to prevent further spread, it is important to quickly isolate infected people. At airports and other public locations, ‘fever measurements’ are already being used on a large scale for this purpose, using smart camera systems. These systems use thermal imaging cameras, which measure the infrared part of the light spectrum instead of visible light. Instead of the visible scene colors, the image pixels represent measured temperature. The cameras are calibrated with a separate “black body” element, a heating element with a very constant temperature.
Rob Wijnhoven (1979) is CTO at ViNotion, specialized in the field of intelligent image analysis. He is responsible for the technology within the company’s products and solutions. He graduated and performed his PhD research on object recognition at the Eindhoven University of Technology. Rob regularly gives lectures about the application of artificial intelligence for the analysis of persons and motorised traffic. He has dozens of scientific publications and regularly cooperates with academic researchers.
The brain of this ‘fevercam’ solution is the artificial intelligence software that processes the camera images. This software detects faces in the images and for each face measures whether the temperature is above the fever limit (typically 38 degrees Celsius). Because these systems operate fully automatically without human interaction, large numbers of people passing by the camera can be quickly screened. The fact that such fever systems are already being used on a large scale can be observed in the recent large increase in thermal camera sales figures. Since the start of the corona crisis, there are more than 75 companies selling such systems (source).
Next to automatic fever detection, other measures are important to prevent the virus from spreading. People need to get used to the one-and-a-half-meter society (social distancing). An intelligent camera system can be used to actively alert people when they are getting too close together. ViSense is a suitable solution which also uses artificial intelligence, as described in this article. The 1.5 meter distance measurements can play a role in the safe restart of the economy; among others in the reopening of the restaurant, cultural, entertainment and sports sectors.
We have seen the development of various technological means to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. In addition to the use of medical devices and face masks, the use of artificial intelligence provides new possibilities. In addition to the artificial brain, it is important to use our own common sense and show patience and respect. Stay safe!