Vancouver company develops COVID-19 screening device that uses artificial intelligence
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver tech company has developed a COVID-19 screening device that uses infrared cameras and facial recognition technology.
The Health Shield, developed by Tevano Systems, can take temperatures and even determine if a person is wearing a face mask.
According to Tevano’s chief executive officer David Bajwa, the device can take a person’s temperature within a second of them looking into the screen.
The infrared camera takes the person’s temperature, while the device takes an image of that person and, using artificial intelligence, determines if the person is wearing a mask.
If they aren’t, the device emits a loud, “please put your face mask on.”
Tevano’s core business pre-pandemic was contactless payment systems for the kiosk industry, which they adapted for Health Shield.
“We were able to take that investment in the kiosk business and move it into that,” Bajwa said.
So far, the devices have been deployed to some trucking companies, including BST Transportation Group in Delta, which delivers goods to large retailers such as grocery and drug stores.
“We are an essential services company, so it’s imperative we’re able to keep our doors open at all times to keep the business running,” said BST’s chief financial officer Don Gleason.
The devices have been placed at all entrances to the company’s main office and warehouse, and they’ve also been programmed to provide voice prompts in Punjabi.
Gleason said the company used to have a staff member screen everyone manually, but the level of personal contact that required created “a little bit of uneasiness.”
Depending on how Health Shield is set up, a company has the option of storing the information the device gathers.
When asked about the privacy issues posed by this, Bawja said companies using Health Shield on the general public in, for example, a retail setting, “would have to alert their customers that they’re, in fact, doing that.”
For Gleason, storing the data keeps an accurate and timely record for any possible safety audits.
“(It) just gives us an effective record to say, you know, ‘We’ve been clean, we’re taking appropriate measures to deliver all the safety requirements,’” Gleason explained.
Tevano has manufactured less than a thousand Health Shields so far.
“We are now at capacity, as many as we can get out in the field,” Bajwa said.