Sheffield firm's new scanner can pick out sick people at airports

A Dronfield company has launched a temperature scanner that can pick out people with a fever at airports, supermarkets and factories.

By David Walsh
Sunday, 5th April 2020, 10:08 am
Updated Sunday, 5th April 2020, 10:50 am

The ‘Viralert 2’ measures human body temperature to within half a degree - and alerts operators if it is elevated.

Manufacturers Ametek Land say it could play a role in helping to contain the spread of coronavirus and they are in discussions with two supermarket chains, the NHS and private healthcare providers.

A ‘flagship’ UK drug company is trialling the system with a view to installing it in warehouses and Dubai Airport has previously bought several systems.

The Viralert 2 is accurate to within half a degree, the makers claim.

The firm says the scanner can only detect variations in surface temperature, not medical conditions. And people with normal skin temperature can still be ill.

David Primhak, director of development and product management at AMETEK Land, said: “In a world where global travel means infections can pass through populations fast, the ability to screen people for fever is a key tool in reducing the risk of disease spread.

“Viralert 2 can detect fever at point-of-entry quickly and remotely, in compliance with social distancing requirements, preventing the risk of infection being transmitted between the operator and members of the public.

“This is cutting edge technology that could make a huge difference in protecting the population both now and in the future.

The device can be used on queues of people and alerts operators if elevated temperature is detected.

“Many thermal imagers are unable to achieve the accuracy required to detect a fever and therefore give false positive readings and low detection percentages – this means a higher chance of spreading the infection throughout the monitored area.”

Land Instruments International (AMETEK Land) is a manufacturer of industrial sensors and measuring devices founded in Sheffield in 1947. Based on Stubley Lane, Dronfield, it was acquired by the Process & Analytical Instruments Division of US conglomerate Ametek in 2006.

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