Using everyday gadgets to make automatic temperature scanners
When Dorscon (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) Orange was announced on Feb 7, a team of engineers from the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) sprung into action.
They realised the urgent need for automated temperature scanners.
The core team of five from the Sensors and Internet of Things team pulled together off-the-shelf items to build a low-cost scanner.
The parts included a tripod, a small camera, an LCD display and a thermometer, costing less than $1,000 in all.
Within a week, the first prototype of the temperature scanner was conceived and it has been rolled out to 60 government and community buildings, with 100 more in line.
Users place their forehead before the thermometer, which automatically reads their temperature and displays the reading on the screen next to it.
One of the GovTech engineers, Mr Ebi Jose, told The New Paper the scanner was built to address the scarcity of thermal scanners and thermometers with a low-cost alternative.
He said the device helps to relieve personnel on temperature scanning duty to do more tasks, making the process more efficient.
Mr Jose, 42, added: "Automating the process also minimises contact between temperature takers and the public and lowers the chance of them being infected."
To meet the demand of over 160 units, GovTech and the Public Service Division called for volunteers online on March 4 to join the production of devices.
A GovTech spokesman told TNP: "In a few hours, we received responses from more than 400 public officers who wanted to help. Every day we roster around 10 volunteers to help."
When TNP visited the GovTech office in Pasir Panjang Road on March 12, volunteers - with the help of GovTech employees - had formed a production line assembling parts of the modular device.
Others worked on soldering and testing.
One volunteer, Mr Ng Khin Kwe, 62, told TNP he rallied his friends to help with the assembly the moment he heard about the call for help.
They are members of a group called Repair Kopitiam, which teaches consumers to repair their defective items instead of throwing them away.
Mr Ng said: "This is a small part we can play... There needs to be unity among Singaporeans, then we can fight the virus together."