Military technologies will help detect people suspected of covid-19 in agglomerations

Publicado em 26 maio 2020

A portable monocle with thermal display developed for the Armed Forces of Brazil and a system that captures different wavelengths, normally used by drivers of Army armored vehicles, are being transformed into a tool to combat the covid-19.

Marketed today for military purposes by the company Opto Space & Defense, the technologies are being integrated and improved through a project supported by the Fapesp Innovative Research in Small Business Program (Pipe), to help identify people with fever who are circulating in places with great agglomeration.

The project was one of the first six selected in an announcement issued by Pipe-Fapesp in partnership with the Financier of Studies and Projects (Finep), to support the development of products, services or processes created by startups and small technology-based companies in the State São Paulo, focused on combating the covid-19.

According to company estimates, the prototype of the system should be ready by June and the final technology should be available in a few more months.

“The proposal is to develop an intelligent imaging system in the visible and thermal spectra that processes data related to the identification of people with fever (one of the main symptoms of covid-19) in places where there is agglomeration, such as companies, schools, gyms and shopping malls” , tells Research for Innovation Raphael Pereira Moreno, researcher responsible for the project.

According to Moreno, the fever measurement system will consist of a thermal camera, responsible for scanning people at a distance of up to 12 meters.

When locating the correct points for measuring body temperature, such as the region of the eyes and cheeks, an embedded program will instantly process the information. When identifying a person in a feverish state, the system will issue an alert to security operators – which may be audible, bright or otherwise – to approach. The faces of people in a feverish state identified by the system can be consulted by security operators on a conventional monitor.

“Depending on the needs of the clients, the identification of the feverish state of the visitors of a given location may be linked to some security mechanism, such as the locking of the access ratchet”, says Moreno.

The sensors that will be shipped in the system can be adjusted to a temperature range between 35 and 44ºC, for example.

Incremental development

According to the researcher, the development of a system for detecting people in a feverish state will be incremental to the military technologies that the company based in São Carlos, in the interior of São Paulo, has been developing for more than a decade, based on sensors and multispectral cameras. Founded in 1985, as a division of Opto Eletrônica S / A, since 2017 Opto Space & Defense belongs to the Akaer Group.

For over 30 years in the national and international market and with a team of specialists composed of 40 people, Opto has accumulated over the years experience in the design and manufacture of highly complex optronic systems, including precision optical components, high-performance electronic systems reliability, fine mechanics and systems engineering. Some of these projects were also developed with support from Pipe-Fapesp.

The company also works on space projects, with the development of high resolution cameras for satellites and multispectral imaging systems.

“We are now going to calibrate the systems we already have, develop a portable cabinet for installing the cameras and optimize the algorithms that will do all the readings,” says Moreno.

In addition to technological adaptation, which, because it is military, also needs to be simplified for civilian use, other project objectives are to present a portable product to the market, with a dedicated power supply and easy operation.