Therma-i is a no-contact temperature screening solution, offering accuracy to a 0.3 of degree and face mask detection. Listen to the story behind Therma-i as heard on BBC Radio Lincolnshire or read the transcript below.
Unknown Speaker 0:00
BBC Radio Lincolnshire make a difference.
Melvyn Prior 0:00
I spotted this It sounds like a great idea which could be a big help to firms and shops. A Lincoln company has developed a new device which is hands free, it can sit on a desktop and could take your temperature and detect whether you’re wearing a face covering or not, which could be a huge help to shops once the new rules on covering your face in shops come in later this week. Let’s talk to the managing director of the firm SPSC. Rob White. Rob. Good afternoon.
Rob White 0:30
Good afternoon. How are you?
Melvyn Prior 0:32
I’m great. Thank you. It sounds like a wonderful challenge that you’ve taken on here to design something your company Am I right in saying normally deals in swimming pools and swimming pool equipment, isn’t it?
Rob White 0:45
It’s very very specialised markets. It’s an opportunity that I recognised back in 1996. I came out to the broadcast and recording industry as an audio visual engineer and I saw this business opportunity to help lifeguards spot a person that might be in difficulty when they couldn’t normally see through the surface of the water. So I started using videos cameras placed in swimming pools, feeding real time pictures to the lifeguard stations to give them a better view, and to help them supervise more effectively. Today, the systems are very much different. We were in the digital age and we use artificial intelligence and computer programmes to analyse everybody underwater and keep them safe. And if the system decides that somebody might need assistance, it will send a message via a smartphone to respond to a lifeguard.
Melvyn Prior 1:47
That is absolutely incredible. So we’ve moved on from watching, you know, a video from underwater basically into detection that’s looking out for people’s movements and what could be difficult movements that might be, you know, a cause of danger.
Rob White 2:04
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the lifeguards job is really, really difficult. You know, as the day the bather load increases as we get a lot of surface reflection, they don’t really know what’s going on underneath the water, which is where people get into trouble.
Melvyn Prior 2:19
So tell me where this idea for this, this desktop temperature and face covering detector has come from?
Rob White 2:28
Well, as we went into lockdown, we didn’t have much to do. We’d already been researching the use of thermal imaging combined with ordinary video cameras to improve the safety of products. We saw that as the next phase of our development. And we thought, well, we’re already using this technology. Why don’t we try it. And with our partners who are in China, our manufacturers. Why don’t we try and come up with a a hands free solution as an alternative to a point and shoot type solution and infrared thermometer. And within two months, we had the first prototype. And another month after that we had a finished production model.
Melvyn Prior 3:18
I think is incredible. When I come into the building here, I have to pick up a handheld as you were describing there, and then take my temperature but of course, we have to make sure that that’s completely wiped down and wipe it down afterwards for the next person using it. With your system, it’s totally hands free.
Rob White 3:34
It’s absolutely yes, it sits on the on the desk. It’s also nickel based and it’s an eight inch tablet. It’s got an ordinary camera in it and a thermal imaging camera and there’s a profile, you go up to it you place your head in the profile, three seconds later, it’s taken the measurements of your head will give you a readout of the temperature that you are at at that at that time. An alarm will be generally ranges at the critical temperature of 37.8 degrees. Otherwise, just the system just lets you go past by and ready for the next person.
Melvyn Prior 4:09
How close do you have to be? Because this is the thing I find with the handheld ones that you have to have them fairly close to your to your head, I tend to put put mine on my forehead fairly close to get an accurate reading.
Rob White 4:22
That’s right. You’re about a metre away.
Melvyn Prior 4:25
Oh, that close?
Rob White 4:26
Yes that you have to be that close. And the thing is, you’re having your temperature taken. And that is personal information. So it’s really like working at an ATM. So any information that’s provided is kept to yourself.
Melvyn Prior 4:42
No, I was thinking that that that seems to be quite a distance away. I mean, when I’m holding one of these handhelds, it’s like a few centimetres away, but you also read a metre away will it?
Rob White 4:52
Easily, easily. Then you haven’t got the contact and there’s no human intervention like you say you’ve got to wipe off the handheld devices, this one you don’t need to touch. You switch it on in the morning, 30 seconds later it’s calibrated itself and it’s ready to go.
Melvyn Prior 5:08
What sort of reaction have you had to it?
Rob White 5:11
When it’s early days at the moment, we’ve got it in a hairdressing salon in Lincoln, one’s going into trials at a local doctor surgery. One or two other small businesses have expressed some interest in it. But the general reaction is pretty good. The fact that it’s hands free seems to be quite useful. And the other thing we’ve made it culturally sensitive so for those that were maybe religious head scarfs, it will see through that as well. So there’s no need to remove any garments.at all. We are offering substantial discounts to any companies on operations that are connected with healthcare and national health, dentists, people like that.
Melvyn Prior 6:40
Rob is great to talk to you. I’m really you know, invention here in Lincolnshire. It’s absolutely amazing. And so often we talk about these things, things go on behind the scenes, and I think it’s incredible. It’s happening here. Rob, lovely chatting with you. Thank you for your time. Rob White is the managing director of SPSC who designed this product called Therma-i, it’s a hands free monitor, but will work up to a metre away from you when I use the handheld one here at BBC Radio Lincolnshire. It’s got to be virtually touching before I get a decent reading on it but really sounds interesting that and that technology happening here in Lincolnshire, amazing
Unknown Speaker 7:25
BBC the sound of Lincolnshire