Thales has announced a study being conducted in partnership with National Health Service Scotland (NHS) to develop a new system that is capable of detecting individuals with a high fever whether they are alone or amongst a crowd.
The initial phase of the study, which is being conducted at the emergency department of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow, involved combining thermal imaging with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect patients that have been admitted to the emergency department with a high temperature. The first phase was conducted over a four-week period and involved roughly 100 patients, with the trial now moving into a much larger population of participants.
The thermal imaging devices are being provided by Thales, along with data analytics and expertise in machine learning algorithms.
“It has been a really good experience working with the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital,” said Willie Alexander, Technical Director for Thales Optronics. “With their medical knowledge and our technical expertise, we want to ensure a solution that is fit for purpose, medically grounded and practical to use and maintain.”
If the results from the initial phase are confirmed in the expanded trials, the resulting solution could be applied to other public spaces where individuals group, such as borders checkpoints, airports, and ferry terminals, to allow individuals to have their temperature taken quickly and reliably.
“Most existing solutions are based on industrial systems and they’re not designed for medical uses,” said Alexander. “With our system, we can scan entire groups of people at the same time and focus on the parts of the face with the same temperature as an ear thermometer, which is the standard equipment for healthcare professionals. And the solution uses machine learning, so the more patients we work with the better the model gets.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in demand for solutions that will allow public and private spaces and facilities to operate safely, and Thales has been active on that front in recent months.
The company recently worked with the NHS in a test in which drones were used to deliver medical equipment to remote Scottish islands.
December 17, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis