Apart from measuring body temperature, the thermal gun can be used to detect surface temperature, heat ventilation etc
Industrial Training Institute, Government of Odisha, has recently launched an Arduino-based thermal gun to help healthcare workers fight coronavirus. At a time when WHO recommends to follow social distancing norms, this thermal gun will be of great help to the medical fraternity.
Says Dr Hrusikesh Mohanty, Principal, Govt ITI Cuttack, “The thermal gun is a plastic body built using a non-contact temperature sensor called MLX90614; hence it can not only be used to measure body temperature but can also be used for measuring temperature, surface temperature, heat ventilation and much more.”
For screening the body temperature the instrument must be placed within one-meter distance from the person to be checked for better results. There is no separate ON-OFF switch. The trigger switch is used to power on and also to check the temperature. Once the temperature is recorded, the thermal gun gives a beep sound and the body temperature is displayed.
According to Dr Mohanty, doctors need to wait for two to three seconds to power the instrument and the temperature can be recorded again. A green colour display is for normal temperature range (without fever) whereas red colour display indicates a fever.
While giving information about the technology used, Dr Mohan says, “The thermal gun works on Arduino technology, based on thermal sensor, Arduino pro mini, MLX90614 infrared temperature sensor, OLED Display SSD1306 and laser module.”
He adds, “We have contactless temperature sensors which utilise lasers or IRs to calculate the temperature of an object. The MLX90614 is one such sensor that uses IR energy to detect the temperature of an object. The design involves two parts, one is the top part which acts as the body of the gun housing the Arduino controller, OLED, sensor and the laser diode. The other is the bottom part which acts as a handle of the gun housing the battery and push button. The push-button here acts as the trigger.”
“The concern regarding the threat of contamination and illness among the staffs of Govt. ITI during COVID 19 pandemic situation made me think to come up with this thermal gun, says Dr Mohanty.
There are plans to scale up production. The scientists took around five days to develop the thermal gun. Says Dr Mohanty, “The cost of the thermal guns is Rs 3500 and the institute has no plans to patent it.”