As more businesses across Texas are cleared to reopen, one Austin-based company is looking to make the transition into these new phases safer.
Athena Security has developed their Elevated Body Temperature Detection System, which uses infrared and computer vision cameras to take the temperature of as many as 2,000 people per hour, with each reading taking only fractions of a second.
"It’s this very accurate device, so that people can quickly walk through, and accurately get a temperature so you know if there’s any possible symptoms. It works very quickly, within 1/16 of a second," said Athena Security President Michael Green.
An alarm sets off if a reading tops 99.5 degrees.
Athena Security originally developed this technology for a different use, but pivoted as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We were doing concealed gun detection through infrared thermal prior to COVID-19. With the pandemic, we were very quickly able to produce this new product," Green said.
Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston is the first hospital to install the system. Capitol Factory is the first place in Austin to do so.
Green says this system is useful in office settings, as well as higher foot-traffic areas, including healthcare centers, stadiums, and schools.
"To help enforce their own COVID-19 policies, this has played a critical role. We have been called a game-changer by the CEO of Memorial Hermann, because this is such a quick, rapid, more cost-effective way to deploy temperature detection," Green said.
The system costs $600 per month for three years. Green says this is cost-effective because it costs less than having one employee solely devoted to using a handheld thermometer in close proximity to people who may be sick, which would also put that employee at risk.
CBS Austin reached out to Austin ISD, to see if they have created temperature checking policies yet, should schools be cleared to return next year. The superintendent has created a task force to determine which steps will be needed before letting students, teachers, and staff back into school in the fall.
Green says it will take technology like his company's cameras to keep places open and people safe.
"We need to be really prepared, not just for this pandemic and how to get America back to work and kids back to school, but we also need to be able to be ready for the next pandemic," Green said.
For more information on these cameras, you can visit Athena Security's website here.