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Epidemics and thermal cameras

  1. Apr 29, 2009 #1
    If thermal cameras (TC) could be cheap, they could be located in many buildings and the can have huge efect on reduction of epidemics spreading. (Do you agree?)
    One TC cost around 10000$. What is the problem for world consensus for research for cheaper thermal cameras? It is cheaper and with less side effects that new vaccines.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 29, 2009 #2

    berkeman

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    What mechanism are you alluding to? Do you have scientific studies of thermal imaging and various diseases that you can point us to?
     
  4. Apr 29, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    I agree with berkeman- what is the correlation between thermal imaging of fully-clothed people and contagious disease?
     
  5. Apr 29, 2009 #4

    Andrew Mason

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    Fever, perhaps?

    AM
     
  6. Apr 29, 2009 #5
    For the last epidemic swine flu they are used in airports. Also some last epidemics. If they were used more frequently in more buildings, sick people were isolated sooner. And this is a key factor.

    I have no study, but let us imagine...

    "fully-clothed people" The face is enough.

    Reducing of fever is also important - for beginning.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  7. Apr 29, 2009 #6
    My first impression is that it sounds a promising idea.More research is needed.
     
  8. Apr 29, 2009 #7

    Danger

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    If W is any indication, you'd end up quarantining a lot of menopausal women. :uhh:
     
  9. Apr 29, 2009 #8
    My question is also: What gives high price to thermal cameras?
     
  10. Apr 29, 2009 #9

    f95toli

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    The sensors are quite expensive. And the really good ones are built using some rather "exotic" materials (some unusual semiconductors etc) which are both expensive in themselves and difficult to manufacture (I suspect the yield is quite low).
     
  11. Apr 29, 2009 #10
    I've read that while it worked for SARS it won't work well for this swine flu epidemic. The reason being that in case of SARS, you would only start to spread the disease after the disease had manifested in you, while in case of swine flu, you can start to infect others before you are ill.

    So, if you get the virus, the virus starts to multiply in your body. You will get a fever 3 to 6 days after being infected. But already after a day of being infected you can start to spread the virus to other people.

    This is true for flu in general (although the incubation time for ordinary flu is a bit less, I think). This is part of the explanation why flu spreads better in the winter than in the summer. In the winter you'll tend to sneeze and cough more often (due to colds or simply because in cold weather you make more mucus that you want to discharge). This then makes it easier for you to spread flu if you are infected when you are not yet ill.
     
  12. Apr 29, 2009 #11

    russ_watters

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    I'm calling BS on the entire concept. I realize it was done, but I can't see how it could possibly be done with any effectiveness at all. Physiological differences, measurement differences, and measurement precision make accurate body core temperature readings via skin temperature measurement impossible. Here's an article about it: http://www.hkmj.org/article_pdfs/hkm0606p242.pdf
     
  13. Apr 29, 2009 #12
    russ_watters, if it is so, camera is really not effective. But it need improvements and it maybe one day it will better. The problem is probably the emission factor? Maybe two color thermal cameras? Why they do not exist?

    Count iblis, But maybe there are also other technological solutions... I never give up. Maybe faster cheap analyses of mucus, urine, etc. Still ever more friendly than vaccination.
    But I addmit more futuristic than thermal imaging.

    f95toli, Count iblis, and russ_watters, Your answers gave me new knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2009
  14. Apr 29, 2009 #13

    russ_watters

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    To be a little clearer than I was before, there are three separate problems:
    1. People are different.
    2. Environments are not consistent.
    3. Cameras are not precise enough.

    So the camera was only one of the three problems.
    "Color" is a function of wavelength as interpreted by our eyes. Since our eyes don't see into the infrared, there is no "color" to speak of (unless you call IR itself a "color"). The images produced by these cameras are mapped to colors we can see, ie "false color" images.
     
  15. Apr 29, 2009 #14

    DaveC426913

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    Yeah, I'm with Russ. Before you worry about what kinds of cameras you'd need, you first need to demonstrate that it's even possible in principle to pick out an ill person under the wide-ranging and continually-changing conditions of the real world. I'm just not sure it's possible. I'm not sure that simple external body temperature is any reliable indicator of illness. The range for detection is probably swamped by normal human variance.

    But it would be good to see some research.
     
  16. Apr 29, 2009 #15

    russ_watters

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    Somewhat related, here's an article that questions the accuracy of forehead thermometers:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSPAR05104120070810

    I can think of a reason for that - when your body needs to dissipate heat more, it may not necessarily dissipate it evenly. Ie, if your whole body sweats but your forehead is open to the air and your body is not, your forehead will dissipate heat faster and therefore the skin surface temperature would drop.
     
  17. Apr 30, 2009 #16
    It sounds like a thorny problem exponent but there may be a solution and it is certainly deserving of some research.May I suggest that you start by looking at the symptoms of the disease and which of these may display their prescence externally.You have mentioned urine so are there changes in this and perhaps changes in sweat?Do the changes in urine and sweat also result in changes to their odours and the light reflection characteristics of the skin?
    I have just imagined a sniffer dog running weaving its way through the passengers sniffing at peoples groins.I'ts not necessarily a crazy idea because dogs have very acute senses of smell.There's no need to worry about the dog taking an occasional bite because it will be wearing a surgical mask.

    Can anyone tell me where to order my designer label surgical mask?Can I get one from Calvin Klein?
     
  18. Apr 30, 2009 #17
    2 color camera is a tehnical term. It means that a pyrometer measures at two frequencies, so it can determine also emission coefficient (EC). Common pyrometers works on one frequency and we set their EC. The same is at thermal cameras.

    Otherwise it is interesting use of thermal camera at doctors. Temperature of naked person can give a lot of informaction, the question is if we can get useful information from it.

    And really if it is possible to analyse also other informations as odours, reflection caracteristic of skin, this can be a step forward ....
    Even some peoples (the best womans) have good sense of smell.
     
  19. Apr 30, 2009 #18

    DaveC426913

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    I'm not sure this makes sense. If your forehead is dissipating heat faster, then it will be picked up as radiating more heat by the scanner, period.
     
  20. Apr 30, 2009 #19
    I am guessing that the heat losses by radiation are very small when compared to the heat losses by convection and sweat evaporation.Perhaps the convective losses could be detected with the Schlieren effect
     
  21. Apr 30, 2009 #20

    russ_watters

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    Oh, sorry, didn't realize that.
     
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