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Biometric solutions for pandemic mitigation rolled out by Vivera, Salarium, Luxand, Invento Robotics

COVID risk prevention technology turned on for conferences and hospitals, school use criticized
Biometric solutions for pandemic mitigation rolled out by Vivera, Salarium, Luxand, Invento Robotics

Biometric technology continues to feature prominently in technologies and solutions developed to help fight against COVID-19 and return people’s lives to some semblance of normality. A new biometric sanitation device by Vivera Pharmaceuticals, a facial recognition time and attendance kiosk from Salarium, and a facial recognition SDK updated with thermal face detection from Luxand have been launched, while a hospital has deployed a mechanical healthcare worker from Invento Robotics. Meanwhile facial recognition is part of a system implemented to help relaunch live conferences, in a fashion, but has been turned off at a university due to privacy concerns.

For the first time since Connect ID was shut down mid-conference, the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. has opened, with biometric facial recognition software, mask detection and body temperature scanning deployed to the entrance to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure, NBC reports.

Visitors are also monitored continuously for high body temperatures inside the facility, as well as to detect clusters of people or a lack of social distancing. Only 50 people will be allowed inside for the first event back, however, which is described as a virtual conference with another 6,000 joining online.

In a hospital north of New Delhi, India customer-service robot Mitra has been deployed to a hospital to interact with patients, Reuters reports. The robot “sees” the patients with facial biometrics.

The Invento Robotics product cost the hospital 1 million rupees ($13,600), for which it is used in remote consultations with specialists and helping patients communicate without using their phones.

The facial recognition capability of body temperature scanning kiosks in use at Hofstra University to screen students for COVID-19 symptoms has been turned off, The Hofstra Chronicle writes.

The feature identified individuals by associating them with ID numbers, and a Black student told the Chronicle that the system misidentified her each time she was scanned. The Chronicle also refers to an article by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University which says the use of such devices to detect COVID-19 is “more marketing than medical science.”

The university deployed 21 kiosks, which from the accompanying image appear to be from system integrator Innovative Video Technology, to dormitories and other buildings on campus, “immediately prior to reopening,” according to a Hofstra representative. A temperature trend collection feature, which uses facial biometrics, was erroneously turned on during setup, and has since been disabled, with all data collected destroyed.

Body temperature screening is also being criticized by scientists in the U.S. University of Chicago Epidemiologist Katelyn Gostic, who studies screening systems for infectious diseases, in among them.

“In the context of schools, fever screening is a particularly bad idea,” Gostic tells NBC for a separate article from the one above.

Regardless, school districts across the country are spending thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the technology. Some of the systems are advertised as having the capacity to scan the temperature of up to 70 people a minute, which University of Auburn Professor Emeritus of Kinesiology David Pascoe advises against. Reliable temperature checks based on digital imaging are possible, if international standards are followed and people are screened one at a time, he says.

Axis Communications VP of Americas Fredrik Nilsson compares the proliferation of body temperature scanning devices to the demand for biometric facial recognition systems in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when the technology was not yet mature.

Technologies like traditional handheld temperature guns are not well suited to employee screening systems, Telpo argues in a information sheet, because of slow measurement, unreliable results, and resulting bottlenecks of people trying to pass entrance checks.

By contrast, Telpo’s TPS908T provides body temperature measurement accurate within 0.3 degrees Celsius from a distance of 0.5 to 0.7 meters, with temperature and attendance data transmitted in real-time to the platform for tracking. The automated system also provides mask detection and audible alerts if an elevated temperature or lack of a mask is detected.

Biometric solutions for pandemic mitigation

Vivera Pharmaceuticals has launched a sanitization device with facial biometrics and body temperature scanning for high occupancy settings.

The BIOZONE dispenses a hypochlorous acid (HOCI) sanitization mist, which is approved by the FDA and EPA and safe for humans of all ages, according to the announcement.

The device is designed to accommodate 300 people per hour, and is intended for schools, offices and event venues.

Salarium has launched a touchless time and attendance device with biometric facial recognition, mask detection and body temperature scanning, which recognizes employees while masked within seconds, according to The Philippine Star.

The FacePass system also sounds an alarm when a high body temperature is detected. HR staff can track and manage shifts and schedules, and employees can access their records through any mobile device. FacePass is available at a 24-month subscription price of P5,000 (roughly US$103) per device.

The new FaceSDK 7.2 from Luxand adds a thermal face detection feature to help small and medium-sized businesses prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The inclusion of thermal face detection enables anti-spoofing and fever-screening measures, in combination with a thermal camera, according to the announcement. The new facial recognition SDK also adds full support for Python, faster face enrollment speed on Linux, autorotation of JPEG images and detection of smaller faces in larger images.

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