Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


UC Engineers Aid Development Of Thermal Imaging Cameras To Spot COVID-19 Symptoms

The University of Canterbury’s Mechanical Engineering experts are among the Kiwi innovators battling against COVID-19.

While commercial devices for crowd fever detection exist, the global pandemic has made them hard to come by. The Cacophony Project and 2040 developed low-cost smart thermal camera systems for tracking the predators that threaten New Zealand’s native birds, and have been pivoting the technology to meet this urgent need.

Working with the University of Canterbury, Callaghan Innovation, and the Auckland Bioengineering Institute with testing, calibration and writing for the instruction manual, they have repurposed their technology for crowd fever scanning at a safe distance. The system can measure forehead temperature to +/-0.5°C without a human operator.

UC mechanical engineers Julian Phillips, Lecturer Tim Giffney and Professor Mark Jermy have developed a temperature reference to give a constant check calibration of these devices. The devices are under trial and hoped to be implemented shortly to curb the spread of the virus.

“If thermal imaging cameras are deployed for temperature screening, this stable temperature reference can help with accuracy. We hope this stable in-frame temperature reference could be useful as a simple, rapidly deliverable approach,” UC Engineering Lecturer Tim Giffney says.

“By putting a stable temperature source in view of the camera, the system can continuously check its reading, and make adjustments,” UC Engineering technician Julian Phillips adds.

“The main challenge in developing the reference was coming up with a design that could be rapidly built with minimal resources, and from local supplies as international freight is at an almost complete standstill.”

“Fortunately I have quite a well-equipped workshop at home, needing only a few items to be obtained from UC,” Phillips says. “In January I travelled to Tonga to support a team of our UC biomedical engineering students working on donated medical equipment. The experience of working under constrained resources was good preparation for working under lockdown – a similar level of flexibility and tenacity is required to get the job done.”

About 30 soldiers from Burnham, as well as New Zealand Police officers, were used to test and calibrate the cameras. To help control the spread of COVID-19 it is envisaged the cameras will be used at airports, hospitals, supermarkets and other workplaces.

You can read more about the project here:

Coronavirus: Thermal imaging cameras to spot symptoms could be part of new normal

Kiwi inventors set their focus on Covid-19

Further background detail from UC Engineer Tim Giffney:

“Objects at close to human body temperature only emit a very small amount of radiated heat, which is difficult to detect in the camera sensor. This means it is not easy to make an accurate thermal camera that is insensitive to external conditions.

“Comparing the temperature of a surface to our reference at known temperature is less difficult. This could allow a wider variety of thermal imaging cameras to be used, which would be useful in case of shortage.

“The internal correction routines of some cameras can also cause inconsistent readings, which our method could help continuously calibrate out.”

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Commerce Commission: Warns Genesis Over Business Billing Errors

The Commerce Commission has issued a warning to Genesis Energy Limited about billing errors concerning electricity line charges to business customers. Genesis reported the errors to the Commission. The Commission considers that Genesis is likely to ... More>>

QV: Tax Changes Yet To Dampen Red-Hot Housing Market

Just over a month has passed since the Government announced measures aimed at dampening the rampant growth of the property market, and yet the latest QV House Price Index data shows the market hit a new high in April. The average value increased 8.9% nationally ... More>>

Stats NZ: Consents For New Homes At All-Time High

A record 41,028 new homes have been consented in the year ended March 2021, Stats NZ said today. The previous record for the annual number of new homes consented was 40,025 in the year ended February 1974. “Within 10 years the number of new homes ... More>>

The Conversation: Why Now Would Be A Good Time For The Reserve Bank Of New Zealand To Publish Stress Test Results For Individual Banks

Set against the backdrop of an economy healing from 2020’s annus horribilis , this week’s Financial Stability Report (FSR) from the Reserve Bank (RBNZ) was cautiously reassuring: the country’s financial system is sound, though vulnerabilities remain. More>>

Reserve Bank: Concerned About New Zealand's Rising House Prices

New Zealand house prices have risen significantly in the past 12 months. This has raised concerns at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Putea Matua about the risk this poses to financial stability. Central banks responded swiftly to the global ... More>>

Westpac: Announces Strong Financial Result

Westpac New Zealand (Westpac NZ) [i] says a strong half-year financial result has been driven by better than expected economic conditions. Chief Executive David McLean said while the global COVID-19 pandemic was far from over, the financial effect on ... More>>