Thermal imaging cameras are a powerful tool in school safety management when it comes to detecting body temperatures. By using heat-detecting systems, it is possible to see if a student, faculty member, or visitor to the school is exhibiting signs of illness through elevated temperature.
These cameras are fast becoming the go-to way to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and safely get students back into a physical learning spaces.
- How To Use a Document Camera for Remote Learning (opens in new tab)
- Best Chromebooks for school 2020 (opens in new tab)
While at-home learning has been something many schools adapted to using the likes of Google Classroom (opens in new tab), document cameras (opens in new tab) and Chromebooks (opens in new tab), the move back to the buildings is inevitable.
Thermal imaging cameras are so advanced now that there are even attachments that work with smartphones. More advanced systems can even detect a person's temperature at a distance, which is a quick and noninvasive way to scan those coming into the school to make sure they're not running any kind of fever.
With shops and offices already employing these tools, it makes sense for schools to follow.
Best Thermal Imaging Cameras
Lots of options are available but simple cameras are an affordable yet effective way to get the job done.
Of course, these simple-to-use and handheld detectors can also be used in schools by the science department for carrying out experiments.
One company that's been pushing the frontier of user-friendly and compact thermal imaging cameras is Flir. As such, they have adapted to create education-specific resources for their tools and take the top spot in our list of the best thermal imaging cameras.
1. FLIR T560-EST Thermal Screening Solution
The FLIR T560-EST is a relatively new device rolled out by this temperature detection specialist to fight sickness. This tool is known as a thermal screening solution, and is designed to be used for people entering places where temperature detection needs to be very accurate but also quick and noninvasive.
The battery-powered device picks up skin temperature with graphic pass or fail indicators, and offers automatic sampling to maintain and update temperature average. It can be mounted and works with desktop software so the person working with it won't need to manually move it; rather the people being tested can stand in position to be scanned automatically.
The downside? The system costs nearly $15,000, making it more than ten times the price of less specifically designed options, such as those that follow.
2. Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera
The Flir TG165 Spot Thermal Camera is a handheld device that works in a point-to-detect manner. It uses infrared beams to detect thermal variation in body temperatures ranging from 89.6 to 108.5 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 42.5 degrees Celsius). It features a multipoint laser that pinpoints where the device is being aimed, which also helps with consistency across measurements.
Traditionally used for industry detection of mechanical temperatures, these devices are made to an extremely high standard and are reliable. Since it is a multiuse device, it's great for in-school study too. Plus, at around $500, it's a lot more affordable than many other options.
3. Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera
Despite the name that suggests chance could play a part, this is a very accurate spot detector designed for use in industry. It's also very hardy and built to last.
The Fluke TIS20 Thermal Imaging Camera offers an IR-Fusion Blending mode to help take into account wider variations. Measurements can range in temperature from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 662 degrees (-20 to 350 degrees Celsius).
This tool also offers the Fluke cloud storage option, meaning results can be saved with 129 x 90 resolution images managed by the user.
4. PerfectPrime IR0002
The PerfectPrime IR0002 thermal imaging camera is a point-and-shoot device that allows for quick and easy temperature monitoring. It has a nice image mixing feature that allows you to decide how much of the light image you see of the person is overlaid with the infrared heat vision image. This lets you see the subject clearly while also getting a clear at-a-glance read of their temperature, as well as the number reading on the top, of course.
This is a relatively affordable model (around $300) that's easy to use in a point-and-shoot format. It won't record video but there is an SD memory card slot that allows for recorded storage of images if you need.
5. Seek Thermal Compact
The Seek Thermal Compact is super small and easy-to-use device that plugs into either iOS or Android devices, depending on which model you get. It's affordable (around $210), offers a wide temperature range, and can record high-resolution (compared to the competition) video. The spot mode is useful for temperature detection and the range is excellent in terms of temperature, distance, and field of view.
This device is small so it needs to be handled with care, but since one designated person is likely using this with their phone they will probably be careful anyway.
6. PerfectPrime IR0280H
The PerfectPrime IR0280H is a thermal camera that's specifically designed to detect fevers in humans, thanks to its high level of accuracy and specific temperature range when set to human mode. It has a thermal sensitivity of 0.3 degrees Celsius.
The detection works at a range of between one and two meters, making retaining social distancing a reality. This is handheld but can also be mounted to a stand as a static camera for easier use on a larger scale in the case of kids entering a school. The relatively large 2.8-inch color LCD display has a high 640 x 480 resolution, making it suited to human face use. This might not be the cheapest option out there but it's certainly a very useful one.