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Taiwan’s AI Thermometer Draws Interest in SE Asia

Many Southeast Asian nations have expressed interest in acquiring a next-generation infrared thermometer developed by Taiwan that is being touted as smart and able to reduce erroneous readings.

Designed by the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), a government-sponsored and mission-oriented medical research center, the thermometer incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

Taiwan develops AI infrared thermometer.

The AI feature allows the device to detect people's faces before reading their temperatures, which reduces errors due to interference by radiation emitted from objects held by the individual being measured — for example, a cup of hot coffee or cold drink. The feature is particularly commercially attractive at a time when countries around the world are deploying thermometers to screen suspected patients of the coronavirus.

Compared to other types of contactless thermometer, the system delivered satisfactory results in an experiment of 200 people in open spaces, said Liao Lun-de (廖倫德), assistant investigator of NHRI’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Nanomedicine. The masks, hats, and glasses the individuals wore were not found to have affected the temperature readings.

The device will sound an alarm and automatically take photos of individuals whose temperatures exceed a certain level. The alerts will be dispatched to disease control staff so they can respond in an efficient and timely fashion.

The mechanism, which integrates real-time thermal sensor software and AI neuroscience, among other technologies, is also cost-competitive, as some thermometers are priced at over NT$200,000 (US$6,653) a unit, said Liao.


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