Hot Mess

Temperature Measuring System at a Distance


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Membership level
2020-2021 Team
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Team Name
Hot Mess
Project Title
Temperature Measuring System at a Distance
Design Challenge
In detecting a variety of diseases, including COVID-19, body temperature is an important, diagnostic measure. Especially important for COVID-19 where a six-feet minimum is recommended to reduce transmission risk, our team will design a contactless system to measure body temperature from a distance that can be applied in low resource settings. Current contactless thermometers tend to be inaccurate, expensive, and unable to account for environmental temperature- features we intend to address in our design.
Design Summary
Accurate readings of body temperature are essential for assessing the prevalence of disease in the body. Especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic, several institutions, like marketplaces and hospitals, have begun regularly taking temperature measurements of their patrons to catch early signs of illness. However, devices that must be used at a close distance increase the risk of airborne transmission from individual to user, as people are advised to remain a minimum of 1 meter apart to reduce this risk. Therefore, in order to safely screen large groups of people in low-resource settings for fever symptoms characteristic of many diseases including COVID-19, an appropriately-distanced, inexpensive, and fast system to accurately measure body temperature in spite of external climate conditions is needed.

To screen for elevated temperatures following WHO recommended distancing protocols, the TempataDistance Team will create an infrared-based temperature monitoring system that can be used at 1 meter distance between an individual and user. The device will rely on an IR sensor to monitor forehead temperature, given that this method of temperature measurement has been shown to rapidly produce an accurate reflection of core body temperature. Included in the box with this IR sensor is an electrical circuit, including signal filters to process noise, calibrate the device, and account for environmental heat which may tamper with accuracy of temperature measurements; and lastly a microcontroller to calculate patient temperature from the sensor’s electrical signal.

The IR housing box will be placed on an adjustable stand which the individual will be able to raise or lower using their foot until the height of the sensor is appropriately placed according to their forehead level. The bottom of the stand consists of scissor lift, enabling the individual to push and lock the stand into place at the appropriate height using their foot, which eliminates device touchpoints that could enable the spread of disease via object-to-person transmission.

In order to take a temperature reading, the individual will walk to and adjust the stand height accordingly. Attached to the base of the stand is a press button, which the individual will press with their foot to indicate to the device a reading should take place. This reading will be transmitted across a wire to reach a user readout box 1 meter from the probe, where the individual’s temperature value will be displayed on an seven segment LCD screen.

This design can be easily adaptable to read several people at once due to multiple sensor stand connection points on the back of the user readout box, reducing the time needed to screen large crowds for high temperature as well as the chance for bottlenecking. With the creation of this temperature monitoring system, a greater number of people may be accurately screened in a simple and easy manner. Last Updated: 05/05/2021

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Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen
Rice University

6100 Main Street MS 390 | Houston, Texas | 77005

Phone: 713.348.OEDK


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