New fever detectors set up at border

Local | Erin Chan 25 Mar 2020

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology have developed a smart fever screening system that could easily identify sick travelers at border crossings.

Sixteen sets of the government-funded system, each costing around HK$500,000, have been installed at the airport and six other control points, including Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, China Ferry Terminal, Macau Ferry Terminal, Shenzhen Bay and West Kowloon railway station.

It has also been installed in government buildings such as the Legislative Council, central government offices and Revenue Tower.

"Our new system is based on a completed crowd-monitoring project sponsored by the Innovation and Technology Fund and Thales Group in 2018," said Richard So Hau-yue, a member of the research team.

"We have ample experience with fever detection as we provided a successfully matched innovation and technology solution on the E&M InnoPortal [under the electrical and mechanical services department]," he added.

Regular fever screening systems, which have been widely deployed at control points since the SARS outbreak in 2003, are based on thermal imaging that translates heat into different color palettes for analysis and requires health officers to monitor two screens simultaneously in both thermal and color imaging in order to spot temperature abnormalities.

The new system, which uses artificial intelligence, real-time tracking and big data analysis, provides higher operation efficiency as information can be provided on the same screen.

The algorithm-dependent system is also more accurate in temperature detection, as it can screen the body temperature of 50 to 100 people from a distance of up to 10 meters.

In addition, the new system, which also uses deep learning and the science of anthropology, can correctly perceive an object even when it is partly hidden.

"For example, if I am wearing a mask, the system can still track," So said, adding that it also can improve the temperature errors that emerge in older systems, as the new tracking technology focuses distinctively on the face and ignores the background environment.

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