Smartphone Thermal Camera Body Temperature Measurement Tested (FLIR / Seek)

By Rob Kilpatrick, Published Apr 10, 2020, 09:29am EDT (Research)

******* ******* **** ******** ** ********** due ** ***********, *** *** ******** smartphone ******* ******* ** **** *** temperature *********?

IPVM Image

**** ****** *** ****** ******* *** ********** **********, ******* ** ***** *** *********:

  • *** **** ********** ******* **** *********** compared ** * ******* ***********?
  • *** ** ************ ****** *** ** sunlight ********, ********, *** ***** *******?
  • *** ****** *** *** ****** **** to ***?

Warning:

******* **** *** **** ********* ***** smartphone ******* ** **** *** **** temperature ***********, ** **** ******* **** are ****** *** ******** ******. *******, some **** ***** ** ** **** could ** **** *** ***** ********, and** ***** *** ************** ******** ** *** *** **** One *** *** *********. **** **** in ****, ** ****** ***** ******* to *** *** **** ********* *** general ****** ** ******* *********** ***** may ***** ** ********* *******.

*******

***** ** *** *****, *** **** One *** *** **** **************** ***** **** *** *********** *********, ** they *** ****** *** ******** ******, with ************ ************* ***** **** **** temperature ******** ** *** ******** *********** in ****** **** ********.

******** ******* **** **** ************ ********** the ***, **** ******** ******** *********** varying ******* ******* ********** * *** of ******* ******* ***** ********** ********* the ****.

*****, ** ***** ** ** ** accurate ** ********, ***** ******* **** to ** **** **** ***** ** the *******, ~*', ****** **** ** recommended ** ******* ****** ********** **********.

*******, ******* ****** *** * ****** high/low ***** **** ***** ******** *** user ** ******** **** *********** **** typical ********* ******* *** **** **** on ***** ********* ******* ************. **** that: **** ****** * **/** **** measurement ****, *** *** ******.

Screening ****** ******* ******

**** **** ** *** ******* ** purchasing *** ********* ****** ********* *******. Update:**** **** ******* *********** ********* ****** Tested

Camera ******** *********

**** *** **** *** **** ******* cameras ******* * ***** ***** *** use *** **** **** *** ****** of *** *****. ** **** *** Lightning ********* ******** ** *** *****, but ***** *** *** *** * models *** **** *********.

Inaccurate **** *********** ********

****** ******* ******* *** **** *** Pro ** *** **** ********** ********** measured * ******'* ***********, ********* ***** oral *** ******** ************. *********** ************ of *** **** *** *** **** low ** *-*° **** ********* *** subject's ********. ************, ******* **** ************, varying ********** *** *** ******* ** major ******* ** ******** ***** ** ambient ***********.

*** *******, *** *******'* **** *********** was * ********** **.*°* (**.*°*) ** the *** ****** *****, ***** ***** an **** *****. ******* *********** *** activity ***** **** *********, *** ******** temperature ******* **** **.*° ** **.*°*.

IPVM Image

*** **** ********** ******** **** ***** at **** **** ****, ****.

IPVM Image

**** *** **** ********** ** *** same **** ******, ******* **** **°-**°*, but **** **** **° ***** ****** measured **** ***********.

Close ***** ****** *** **** ******** *******

*** *** **** ******** ********, *** subject ****** ** ** ~*' ** less **** **** *** ******* *******. Longer ********* ******** ** ***** ********. For *******, ***** *** **** *** Pro, *********** ******* **** **.*°* (~*° below **** *********** ******** **** * thermometer) ** **.*° **** ****** **** 1' ** *' ********.

IPVM Image

*** **** *** **** ***** *** Seek **********, ****** ** * ****** extent. *********** ********* ~*°* *** ***** ~3' ******** **** *** ******.

IPVM Image

Hot/Cold ******* ******* ** ********

**** ******* ******** *********** ******* ** forehead **** *********** *** ** *** or **** ******* ******* ** *** forehead. ***, *******, ******** * *** towel ** *** ******** *** * few ******* ****** ******** *********** ** over ***°*, ****** ****** **** *********** remained ~**.*°.

IPVM Image

*********, **** ******* **** ** *** forehead ******* ******** ***********.

IPVM Image

Physical ******** ********* ******** *********** ************

*********, ** ******** ******** ****** *** after ******* **** ****** *** ******** and ***** ****** **********. ********* **** the **** *** ***, *********** ********* by ****** *°*, **** **.* ** 94.2, ****** ** **** ***** **** below *********** ******** ****** (**.*°*).

IPVM Image

Little ********** ** *********** *** ** *** ********

*** ******* ******** ******* ********** ** skin *********** ***** ******** **** ******* to ****** ******** *** ******** *******, with *** ******** ****** ** *** touch. ** ** ******** **** *** cooler ******* *********** (* **** ** ~70°F / **°*) *********** *** ********* due ** ********. ******* *** **** significantly ** *** ** **** ****.

***** *** **** **********, *********** ********* by **** ~*°*, **** **° ** 90°.

IPVM Image

*** **** *** *** ******** ******** a ***** ******** ** *.*°*, *********** the **** *********** ****** *** *****.

IPVM Image

FLIR *** *** ********

*** **** *** *** ******** **** spot ****** *** ******* ** ******** for ***********. ***** ****, **** *** average *********** ** *********, *** * maximum *** *******, ** ******** ******** cannot ** *****. *******, *** **** meter (*********) ****** * **** ***** region, **** * *** ******, *** can ** ********* ** ******** ** the ******* ***** ** *** ******* consistently.

Seek *** ********

****** ****, **** ******** * "**/**" mode ***** ********** *** ******* *** coolest ***** ** *** *****, ****** body *********** ************ ******. ******* ** FLIR, ** ****** ******* ***** ********, adjustable *********** ******* *****, ***.

Battery ******* / ****** ****** ***** *****

******* *** **** *** **** ******* may ** ******** ***** ********, ******* making **** ********** *** ********* ***. The **** *** *** **** * built-in ************ *******, ***** **** **** the ******* ** *** ********* *****.

Versions ****

*** ********* ******** **** **** ****** testing:

  • **** *** ***: *.*.*
  • **** *******: *.*.*.*

Comments (8)

Did hair/hats/masks make it difficult to get an accurate read, or were they a non-issue? Just curious, thanks for the insightful test!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Hats and hair made it difficult to get a reading because hats block the forehead and hair could also block if long enough, masks do not block so they weren't an issue.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Thank goodness they said it’s not recommended! Kudos to them.

SKIN TEMPERATURE IS NOT DIRECTLY CORRELATED TO A FEVER (or lack thereof), UNDERSTAND???

If the margin of error was small, there may be some reasons to adopt. If the margin of error (positive or negative) is large (in these thermal use attempts), the reason to adopt approaches zero.

Yes, I’m yelling above at this and every other associated article.

And sorry for yelling.

Agree
Disagree: 2
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 3

Good review refuting accuracy claims - These articles are fueling end user calls for thermal cams for this : Temperature Checks Are the New Normal for U.S. Retail

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Skin temperature is not going to match core body temperature, and it will change based on various factors. Your assessment of the inapplicability as a disease indicator is almost certainly correct, but what you measured with the FLIR at close range is not necessarily a sign of inaccuracy.

See the plot about halfway down the page:

Facts about the skin :: Temperature of the human body

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

Chris, thanks, adding that image for clarity / ease of reference:

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

It would be better to use this device to compare body temperatures among a group of people. You get the average and then compare whether anyone is above that average. These devices on your phone were never intended to measure your body temperature. They're not a thermometer. If you are detecting a leak in a pipe, you use it to see where the leak is. Not to tell you the exact temperature of the hot water in the pipe. But, FLIR does have a 510(k) filing (K033967) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for select camera models like the T series that have an EBT application. Also, try measuring the temperature in the same spot, corner of the eyes is best. Forehead works, but in this test they measured three different locations of the forehead.

Thermal has a wide range of temperature detection. Different devices are focused on detecting different temperature ranges for different applications. A FLIR FC-R series camera is used to detect temperatures around the flash point of fires. That's a completely different temperature range than body temperature. You can read more below.

Thermal Imaging for Detecting Elevated Body Temperature | FLIR Systems

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

it may not be obvious, cuz he doesn't specifically mention this, but Danny is a FLIR Field Engineer.

he knows what he is talking about.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Subscribe to IPVM Research to read the full report.
Why do I need to subscribe?
The IPVM Research Service includes products tests and shootouts plus competitive and financial analysis, helping decision-makers better evaluate purchasing, partnering, developing, and/or competing against companies in physical security.
Already have an account?
Loading Related Reports