Every time the world experiences adverse moments, difficult situations, stages of danger, ideas arise, imagination is revealed and different possible solutions appear.

A Chinese startup developing augmented reality products for use in manufacturing and video games has found a promising growth area during the global coronavirus pandemic: portable glasses or lenses that measure temperature on the move.

The startup Rokid, based in Hangzhou, China, has developed these thermal glasses to help detect one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus: fever. Rokid President Xiang Wenjiie says demand for the developed glasses has increased in just two weeks after he sold approximately 1,000 units to governments, industrial parks, and schools.

“Also, to fixed temperature measurement, this model of glasses can provide fast, remote, portable temperature control, which would be of great help,” Xiang told Reuters. Equipped with an infrared sensor and a camera, thermal goggles allow the user to “see people’s temperatures.”

Each adverse situation brings with it possible alternatives that also represent opportunities to generate wealth through all the innovation that is aimed at solving the problem, or at least part of it.

The company said it is now updating the model of thermal glasses so that it is possible to take multiple temperature readings simultaneously, and thus adapt its use to places with high frequencies of people, such as shopping centers and airports.

An office park in Hangzhou is replacing fixed thermometer holders with this new product after an avalanche of employees who have returned to work made temperature controls a headache for companies.

Rokid is not the only Chinese tech startup involved in the fight against Covid-19. A thermal imaging system created by facial recognition giant Sense Time has also been installed at railway stations across China.

Characteristics of T1 glasses

This thermal device could be implemented soon in the US, according to information provided by Guan; Rokid’s T1 thermal glasses use an infrared sensor to detect the temperatures of up to 200 people in two minutes at a distance of up to three meters.

The thermal glasses carry Qualcomm CPU, 12 Mpx camera and offer augmented reality functions for hands-free voice controls, to record photos and live videos.

T1 glasses connect via USB and can be configured from IoT so business customers sync up with their platforms. The product could grab the attention of US regulators, who have become increasingly cautious with tech companies’ handling of US citizen data.

Rokid says he does not collect information from the T1 glasses directly. “Regarding this module … we don’t take any data to the cloud. For clients, privacy is very important, for them, the measurement of data is stored locally, “according to Guan.

The startup’s engineering team developed the T1 product in just under two months. In China, Rokid’s smart glasses have been used by national park staff, schools, and national authorities to detect symptoms of Covid-19.

Device limitations

Thermal glasses or temperature detectors have their limitations, as research has shown that more than half of China’s Covid-19 patients did not have a fever when they were admitted to the hospital.

For its part, Rokid already has new features for its T1 smart thermal glasses in the process. The Chinese startup plans to update the device to take multiple temperature readings simultaneously for up to four people. “That is not on the market yet, but we will release it very soon as an update,” said Rokid director Liang Guan.

Technology has been a very important tool throughout history and represents a great strength that allows us to search for solutions to the great challenges that arise. This is how the appearance of these thermal devices represents an element that adds to all those measures and/or other inventions that will surely appear in favor of the fight against Covid-19.

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