An American company has been awarded a patent, that would allow the camera on a smartphone to work with a built in infra red detector to provide clinically accurate temperature readings.
The most important aspect with non-contact thermometers is to find the optimal point on the surface and keep the device at the required distance to gain an accurate reading. To aid with this, facial recognition software on the handset can be used to guide the user to the right spot.
The company behind the invention is the Fraden Corporation, which is headed by Dr. Jacob Fraden, who helped develop the technology behind Braun's Thermoscan Ear Thermometer.
In addition to using a non invasive method to take the temperature of a person, the software can also be used to take the temperature of inanimate objects, and potentially food, too.
“Most smartphone models differ little from one another, with only small evolutionary changes,” said Dr. Jacob Fraden, President of Fraden Corporation, co-inventor of the technology and expert in non-contact temperature measurements. “The vendor with breakthrough functions for real world everyday use, like reading a child's temperature, can distance themselves from their competitors. We believe this new patent can be a significant competitive differentiator for a smartphone manufacturer.”
The potential market for such a device may be limited, but within the medical profession having a smartphone that could record temperature readings and instantly upload them, as well as being able to perform other medical tasks, may have some appeal.