An Irish firm has developed a ground-breaking temperature scanner that can process 200 people at once and is set to prove a key asset in 'normalising' society as the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.
Ventilux believes the scanner, developed with the use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology, will become a key part of post-pandemic daily life in Ireland to allow airports, shopping centres, large companies, museums and even concert facilities and hotels to operate.
The scanner can take up to 35 different temperature readings from each individual face - meaning masks or scarves don't interfere with its results.
Founded by Brendan Walsh, Ventilux is now run by his sons, Ian, Barrie and Ryan.
The Wicklow-based company makes emergency lighting and battery systems for hospitals as well as public and private buildings.
Ventilux normally employs 60 staff but because of the impact of the pandemic restrictions, had reduced operations to a skeleton staff of eight people.
The Bray firm, working with a partner company in Shenzhen, China, has now developed the ITDS-200 dynamic thermal imaging scanner.
"Thermal scanners have been a part of the landscape in the Far East for some time now," Ian Walsh explained.
"You see them at airports and the like. But what is unique about this system is that it was designed to cater for centres where you have significant numbers of people."
The system can handle scanning 200 people at once - and, because of its AI-designed processor, can not only conduct the temperature scans but takes a photo of each individual so the person can be traced if there is an alert to a high temperature reading, a symptom of the virus.
That photo is then deleted, once the contact is traced, to comply with GDPR regulations.
Mr Walsh said the system was specifically designed for areas where people congregate in numbers - such as airports, public buildings, large factories and concert and sporting venues.
"It is a very accurate system which offers dynamic thermal measurements," Mr Walsh added.
Ventilux has had multiple enquiries about the system from across Europe and the Middle East - with private and public agencies viewing it as a critical post-Covid-19 asset.
"We have a demonstration unit up and running and we believe that this system will play a key part in how we respond as a society to the virus once the lockdown is eased, particularly in areas where people inevitably congregate.
"We believe it will offer a major safeguard towards restoring the free movement of people and helping to restore normal life."
Until a vaccine is developed and cleared for safe worldwide use, countries are rushing to introduce measures to protect populations from a feared second wave of Covid-19.
While social-distancing controls and the use of protective face masks in special environments will be included among those measures, temperature scanners are also set to prove a critical asset in preventing a second spread of the virus.
European airports are expected to roll out thermal scanning technology over the coming weeks, with a number of airlines already insisting that passengers must comply with specific temperature scans before being allowed to fly.