'RoboCops' use hands-free fever detection
Wearing a "RoboCop"-style smart helmet while standing guard at a mall gate on Chunxi Road, a popular shopping area in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.
Liu Tao attracted the gaze of many passersby, especially when the helmet would speak up on its own: "Maximum body temperature is 36.4 degrees Celcius, please pass."
Liu, local epidemic prevention and control worker, began wearing the AI-powered device a few days ago while on duty.
"It has an eight-hour stand-by time and is safer and more effective than a hand-held thermometer," he said.
Developed by Shenzhen-based tech firm Kuang-chi, the smart helmet, which looks similar to motorcycle helmets, can automatically pinpoint a person running a fever within a 5-meter radius.
According to Liu, anyone scanned within the target range whose body temperature exceeds 37.3 degrees Celsius will trigger a sound-light alarm on the helmet. The wearable apparatus is able to identify and record body temperatures of more than 100 people in less than two minutes.
Chunxi Road is a commercial block with a large pedestrian flow, said Guan Yu from the local management office, noting that there used to be five to six monitoring personnel working at one checkpoint, while only one, with a smart helmet, is needed now.
"RoboCops" with futuristic-looking helmets have been found recently at subway entrances, large conference sites and on pedestrian streets in several metropolises like Chengdu, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Body temperature readings of passerby can be seen overhead on a virtual reality display screen through the helmet's viewing portal.
"Using hand-held infrared thermometers remains the primary monitoring method, which has to be done on a one-on-one basis," said Lei Tao, who oversees the R&D of the device, adding that it lacks passage efficiency and virtually increases risks during epidemic prevention.
Lei also noted that using the helmet, which is based on a prototype originally designed for police officers in actual combat, is like watching a 70-inch TV three meters in front of you, with body temperatures automatically measured in milliseconds.
"It helps lock onto those with fevers quickly and safely among the crowds," he said.
Since the novel coronavirus epidemic broke out, Chengdu has been using smart helmets, temperature measuring robots and drones to aid epidemic prevention and control.
As resumption of work and production is about to peak, more high-tech applications will come into play, according to an official with the new economy and sci-tech bureau of Jinjiang District in Chengdu.