It hardly can be a better timing for this invention – a risk of the Ebola epidemic and need for screening people to detect fever demands instant availability of non-contact medical thermometers. Fraden Corporation of San Diego (www.fraden.com) announces that it was granted a second U.S. patent for augmenting any smartphone with an instant non-contact infrared (IR) thermometer.
A special sub-miniature infrared (IR) camera is incorporated into either a smartphone or protective case ("jacket"). It works together with the phone digital camera that acts as its viewfinder. This results in unprecedented convenience of taking temperature by a smartphone – just aiming the phone at the person's head. The company developed an app that automatically detects the forehead surface, reads the IR camera output signal, calculates the internal body temperature with a clinical accuracy and within just one second presents the result on the screen.
A different app geared for the screening purposes at ports of entry can download the passenger list, record the temperature of each passenger on departure and arrival and automatically transmit all the relevant data to the health authorities.
The IR camera and its apps offer a selection of three operating modes: medical, inanimate objects and thermal gradients. The medical mode meets the International ISO Standard for clinical thermometers.
When using other modes, it covers a broad temperature range from -22 to +400 degrees F for use in the home environment such as kitchen (cooking and refrigeration), bedroom/bathroom (baby formula and bath water temperature), outdoor (air, pool, lake or ocean temperatures), in industry (automotive and production machinery, chemical processes, energy management, construction), firefighting, military, etc.
The IR camera can be incorporated into a smartphone or "smart" protective case that communicates with the phone app wirelessly (Bluetooth or NFC). Thus, no plug-in connection is required. The "smart" sensing cases are produced by SensorJacket, Inc., a San Diego company (www.sensorjacket.com) associated with Fraden Corp. The smart cases are adapted for iPhone-5, but in the near future the company plans to make smart sensing cases for other iOS and Android smartphone models. The company also considers licensing the technology to major smartphone manufacturers.
Beside thermal detection, the new patents claim other smartphone sensors with functionalities for monitoring electro-magnetic pollution caused by high voltage power lines, microwave ovens, Wi-Fi routers and radio stations. The patents also cover detectors for measuring UV exposure from the sun as well as thermal imaging cameras embedded into smartphones or protective cases.
"In these turbulent times, when people worry about global epidemics, such as Ebola, swine flu, SARS or any other potential viral calamity, having a medical non-contact thermometer in your pocket becomes a necessity. A smartphone is a modern-day Swiss Army Knife with several very useful 'blades'. A non-contact thermometer will be another essential blade for a smartphone," said Dr. Jacob Fraden, a co-inventor of this technology and an expert in non-contact temperature measurements.
Websites: www.fraden.com and www.sensorjacket.com