Johannesburg – When the novel coronavirus erupted across the globe and countries on every continent went into lockdown, Jacob Gitman and his team were hard at work on technology that could be used to fight Covid-19.
And after months working on their “thermometer of the future”, this revolutionary hands-free device which could see the return of sporting and other live events, has finally been patented.
“After conducting comprehensive market research throughout the event industry, we found that demand for such an invention was very high,” Dr. Gitman, an American scientist and inventor told The Saturday Star this week.
“We bring together the world of data and detection and the worlds of event production, sports,and even law enforcement.”
While the thermometer can be used at all live events, the sports industry is currently the most interested in this technology.
“We received some of the most enthusiastic responses from the sports world, which has really suffered so much throughout the pandemic on so many levels, from players to industry professionals and spectators.”
Dr. Gitman, who holds a PhD in Solid State Physics and designed and developed the device with his partner and fellow innovator, Victor Lander, added they have already received several commercial partnership offers.
“We are reviewing all of them and will decide on what we think is most appropriate, considering the scope and budget,” he said.
“We are planning to make a presentation about the invention to all major sports leagues.”
Dr. Gitman insisted it is not only the sporting world that can benefit from the use of the thermometer, which is mounted onto a face shield, fully equipped with an infrared measuring device and digital display.
“It can be used at the entrance to absolutely any venue – event halls, airports, hospitals, educational institutions, just to name a few.”
Dr. Gitman, who currently owns 18 patents on inventions, ideas, and methods, explained that unlike other thermometers, this one allows for adequate social distancing as well as an accurate temperature reading.
He explained this is because it just requires a simple look and the operator of the thermometer can aim the pointer at the subject’s head, whereby the temperature is measured and appears on the display, all without having to get too close.
“Previous non-contact thermometers are problematic in this world of social distancing, as it is necessary to get close enough to take a reading but the face-shield also provides extra protection for the operator, while the hands-free element means passing between multiple users can be done more safely.”
The futuristic thermometer can also be connected to online programs and specialist software where it is able to securely record vital data and provide information taken from the measurements.
Data can later be analysed to produce important insights with the option to have face recognition technology employed where and when appropriate.
Dr. Gitman added that the invention can be used anywhere where a swift, safe, and accurate method of taking people’s temperature en masse is needed in combination with the secure collection of data.
“The thermometer is a new way of integrating AI capabilities together with public health solutions in the wake of Covid-19,” he said.
While this thermometer hopes to lead the world into a post Covid phase, Dr. Gitman explained that work on this device started almost a year and a half ago.
“We began working on the thermometer just after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and there was a shortage of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and most of the protection equipment was imported from China.
“‘The quality of those products in many cases was substandard, to put it nicely and we saw how important contactless thermometers were becoming and realised the necessity for an upgraded form of such a thermometer, something that had an even higher degree of safety and that could do much more.”
Dr. Gitman said they already had some of the existing ideas and technology, but they applied it to the concept of inventing a “next-generation contactless thermometer – the Thermometer of the Future.”
While his team has not yet been approached by officials for use of the thermometer in South Africa, he is looking forward to bringing it to the continent in the near future.
“We are very interested in bringing this invention to the African continent and making an impact there.”
Ultimately, he hopes that the “Thermometer of the Future,” will speed up and simplify the process of admission and access control together with the implementation of a fully automated screening and threat detection system.
“We would like to reach a point where we can provide total transparency about the status of a person who agrees to the conditions of entering a venue, such as whether that person is sick or not or whether we are facing another outbreak.”