Pretoria-based technology company Foresight Security has installed a locally developed thermal scanning system at a mine in the Northern Cape to help detect any possible cases of Covid-19.
The system is capable of scanning two rows of mineworkers walking at a normal pace without them having to stop to have their temperatures tested, says Foresight Security business development director Dewald Lindeque.
"By using an existing video analytics platform, which is extensively used in the security industry, we were able to quickly adapt the software to assist with Covid-19 screening using thermal cameras. The company will have about 40 systems installed by the end of the month," he notes.
"We placed the intelligence at the back-end of the camera, rather than sending it to a centralised computer for processing. This makes the system fast enough to scan two rows of workers simultaneously at normal walking pace without anybody having to pause to have their temperature taken."
The system allows for easy customisation and integration with existing systems like access control and medical systems, as well as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) systems. It can also interact with whatever identification system that is already in use be it radio frequency identification or a barcode to identify every individual.
It was a challenge to develop a system that was sufficiently intelligent to take a wide range of factors into account when processing the data-stream from the thermal camera, says Lindeque.
"It is not merely a case of measuring the temperature of the workforce individually, but recording and mapping daily temporal fluctuations in temperature and symptoms that could be critical in identifying trends that could signal emerging disease flares,” he adds.
“Proactive fever monitoring needs to be tracked, recorded and monitored on an individual basis in order to be effective. Because we will be getting this information before people will be seeking healthcare, this can aid the deployment of resources in a time-sensitive manner to fight local infections."
The system was developed by a group of programmers and software architects who specialise in AI, deep learning, neural networks and machine learning.
The system includes a mobile application (app), a control room interface and a compliance and reporting app.
In addition, a facility exists where people can complete remote screening questionnaires that allow for additional risk assessment and a form of contact tracing. Once a person arrives at the place of work, these questionnaires, their temperature and presence of personal protective equipment, like masks, are checked before access is granted.