Aurora Multimedia's CEO Paul Harris responded to IPVM's inquiries about his product as part of our research and reporting on the VA's usage of such products. We are including, in full, his email responses to IPVM as they help explain his company's approaches and key issues in the design and performance of these products.
Thanks for your time yesterday on the phone. As per the email and to our surprise you have sent to Turtle Creek Construction the following statement, “Temperature screening tablets like the ones you sold to the VA have low resolution thermal sensors. We have found that these types of sensors are unreliable in measuring human temperature.”. I would appreciate clarification if you actually tested an Aurora TTS series temperature tablet (not to be confused with Glorystar’s version of Tauri as they are different firmware and some hardware changes too) for this article or is it an assumed generalization. If it has been tested we would like the opportunity to see the results as we have not seen issues like the ones you have shown in your prior videos nor have we been contacted for confirmation if the unit is properly setup. If you have not done testing we would like to know how you conclude low resolution sensors are unreliable as this is not the case. As per our phone call it is more complicated then just the resolution. Actually, lower resolution sensing is used for FDA approved thermal handhelds as little as 1 pixel.
I was also taken back by your second statement “Given the quantity of unreliable temperature screening tablets you sold to the VA, coupled with the vulnerable population they are intended to serve, the lives of Veterans are endangered.”. Aurora’s tablet has been utilized and tested by many corporations and schools in real world use cases and has outperformed other products on the market. One of the owners who I have CC in this email is a Veteran and it is offensive to insinuate we would make a product that would endanger the lives of anyone for that matter. We take seriously what we develop and make available. Our temperature tablet does serve a valuable purpose with the limited choices available. Having a person at an arm length taking temperatures in itself is very dangerous and that is the other option without affordable alternatives.
Aurora makes it a point to be as accurate as possible for which the IR technology will allow for contactless thermal sensing. We feel for this low cost market space we have one of the best products on the market and we continue to develop the technology as the need has grown. We like working with organizations to further technologies but that requires corporation and communication.
Regarding: "Actually, lower resolution sensing is used for FDA approved thermal handhelds as little as 1 pixel."
This statement shows a lack of understanding of the fundamental principles of temperature screening. The handheld / 'guns' can do this because they are positioned with an inch or two of the subject and cover a very tiny area of the subject.
By contrast, your company markets "temperature scan from 3ft" which is exponentially farther away and larger FoV. The problem then is that the resulting coverage area of each pixel is much larger, reducing accuracy
This is why, e.g., systems that scan at a distance approved by the FDA historically have exponentially greater resolution than your device.
We have not tested your tablet. We tested 8 tablet models with this category of sensor and we have consistently identified performance and accuracy issues. We will note in our report that we have not tested the Aurora Series Tablet.
Please provide scientific or quantitative testing on the Aurora Series Tablet to IPVM and we will include in our report.
Once again not sure why the insults and questioning my understanding. It is inappropriate to classify any Aurora project with other units you have tested and should be left out of your report.
As for your comment, I fully understand field of view as I explained part of it to you on the phone Friday. It is not that simple to classify a 32x32 sensor as being the same from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, Heimann sensors come in 6 versions with different field of views. We use a narrow field of view of 33 deg. That means 1024 pixels will be mapped and that lens will set the focal length of where a person needs to be to fill the array. But it is not just that. There are also offset formulas you must apply such as temperature of the sensor, voltage feeding the sensor, and 2 other parameters. If this is not done correctly the readings will be off. Next, there is the averaging of the results that come in during the time frame. Keep in mind we are not reading one specific area as the human body naturally shakes so there is a form of a pixel shifting that will occur that can be sampled in as well. I can go on and on but I gave you enough to think about. As for my comment about 1 pixel, yes it is only inches away but my point is it takes only 1 pixel for an FDA approved device to take a reading from a person’s forehead. A 32x32 sensor will grab far more pixels from the same area. Our product shows a thermal map where you can see the pixels landing on the persons head in real time. I cannot speak on behalf of the devices you have tested and how well they implemented the sensors but we have taken many measures to optimize results.
Also, please note there are other brand sensors similar to Heimann that do have poor performance as they were intended for industrial machinery. These sensors have +\-.9F accuracy and can drift. We have seen some of the overseas vendors use these sensors in their products which can be attributed to some of your reporting as well. As you have seen many of the 8in tablets on the market come from 2 companies. Aurora does not use these OEM branded tablets and was the first to market back in April and to date is the only USA company that is writing their own code which categorizes it as a substantially modified in the USA product. We also only sell through authorized Aurora dealers so the support is proper. Aurora did not rebrand, we partnered and developed our own technology. Many of the companies rebranding sell online to any and everyone which hurts the industry and support structure for a quick dollar. We are committed to all the professional integrator businesses across the USA to make certain through these difficult times they can pay the bills and keep people employed.
There are a lot of statements and claims in the emails. Though we are not going to analyze point by point, one major area that is important is this contrast between handhelds and tablets. Harris himself makes an interesting point when he notes "human body naturally shakes so there is a form of a pixel shifting". In addition to dealing with the much wider FoV of a person's head 3 feet away, the further a subject is away from the measuring device the more small movements impact measurements. From the company's own marketing video, the thermal area displayed shows how wide the 32 x 32 pixels are spread out versus a handheld on a tiny spot on a forehead:
Aurora may be the one super accurate tablet, as we have not yet tested it (we have tested 20+ to date). Aurora's CEO's comments underscore the technical challenges in trying to do this right and for the better of the entire market, it is important that the FDA and regulators verify the performance of such devices.