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Thermal imaging helping to detect high temperatures in schools amid COVID-19

A Houston company shifted technology originally used for detecting concealed weapons.

HOUSTON — Todd Dunphy’s son, Charlie, helped his dad demonstrate a no-contact thermal imaging device that measures skin temperature.

"The idea is you’re doing a very rapid screening,” said Dunphy at the family's Houston-area home.

The device, named “feevr,” can help detect just that, although it was originally developed to identify concealed weapons in places like airports.

"And if you have a skin temperature that’s above 98, which is equivalent to 100.4 body temperature, you’ll see a red box,” Dunphy said.

He serves as CEO for x.labs, which developed feevr.

It's similar to other temperature gauging technology but is marketed as more portable.

Feevr is currently at work in some 50 school districts around the country in the wake of COVID-19, including Van Vleck ISD in Matagorda County.

"It’s sped up the check-in process tremendously,” Superintendent John O'Brien said.

O’Brien said handheld temperature guns, which are used by most districts, are slower and prevent proper social distancing.

Although devices like feevr cost thousands more, "That money is just not being spent for COVID," O'Brien said. "Because we’ll be able to use it in the future as a safety measure that we can put in place to monitor for any kind of devices somebody might be trying to conceal as they come into our buildings.”

For now, feevr’s main mission appears to be fighting a more intangible enemy.

"They’re really just a screening device to help you measure one element of potential sickness," Dunphy said. "Which is your skin temperature.”

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