Smartphones might soon come equipped with infrared sensors for detecting temperature.
The 2.5-mm IR sensor can be built into a phone or tablet next to the digital camera where it can measure a wide range of temperatures accurately enough for clinical use.
One of the designers, Jacob Fraden of Fraden Corporation, invented the ThermoScan Ear Thermometer. Among other things, it made it difficult for kids to fake a fever.
This new point-and-shoot thermometer takes less than a second to take a temperature – and without having to come into contact with the patient.
The device’s wide range -- from -22 to +400 degrees Fahrenheit -- also makes it broadly applicable, such as gauging the temperatures of engine parts, a roasting turkey, and the baby's bathwater.
Temperature is computed by the main microprocessor from a digital signal received from the IR camera. The two operating modes -- medical temperature and inanimate temperature -- allow it to make a single snapshot measurement (IR photo mode) or measure and display temperature continuously (IR video mode).
The smartphone sensing device has been patented, and its makers are looking for licensees.
Images: Fraden Corp.