This Thermal Scanner Warns You If Someone Might Have a Fever

Gilbert François' DIY device estimates human body temperature using an MLX90640 infrared camera connected to a Raspberry Pi.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have been contributing to the fight with various solutions and techniques meant to help. Perhaps the best thing that you can do to prevent the spread of this disease is to isolate yourself from those that have it.

To help with this, Gilbert François has come up with a Raspberry Pi-based device that scans someone’s skin to determine its temperature. As a normal human face temperature is between 32° and 34°C (90° to 93°F), if someone has an elevated level, this could give an early warning that there is something wrong, and that extra precautions should be taken.

The unit consists of a Melexis MLX90640 infrared camera attached to a Raspberry Pi (2, 3, or 4), giving it a resolution of 32x24 pixels. This is displayed on a screen mounted to an enclosure that holds the camera (made of cardboard in this case) as well, which shows a thermal picture of the human in question, and whether readings are normal or not.

Notably, internal human body temperature is quite a bit higher than one’s skin, and since there are several factors that could affect thermal emissivity, this would certainly only be an estimate. Also, like many projects seen as of late, this is not medically approved, so any reading wouldn’t be sufficient for diagnosis. Code and installation instructions are available on GitHub.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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