Ink Labs Relabels China YCX Fever Camera And Steals Dahua's Marketing

By Sean Patton, Published Jul 30, 2020, 09:29am EDT

A US company marketed a 'thermal temperature scanner' as its own, selling this to schools, despite it being relabelled from China YCX while stealing Dahua's marketing.

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In this report, we examine Ink Labs and its offering, including responses from Ink Labs, YCX, and Dahua.

Ink Labs Background

Ink Labs, founded in January 2020 and based in Buffalo, NY, marketed a "BTS Temperature Scanner", as the screencap of their flyer below shows:

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Nonetheless, the product is not 'by Ink Labs', it is from a China OEM/ODM manufacturer YCX.

Ink Labs touts on-the-move screening of "up to 20 people" and high accuracy based on "full-forehead scans":

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The per camera price for the Temperature Scanner system is $4,995:

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This is a 500% markup on the $950 per camera price from YCX and common in this market (Bems 400% Markup Temperature Tablets, SafeCheck USA 300% Markup Temperature Detectors, 600% K3 Wall Mounted Markup, etc.).

Ink Labs' main product offerings are "immersive learning" school/classroom technology, marketing their dedication "to helping schools get back to the basics of education and building products that free teachers to do what they do best—teach."

Marketing to Schools

Ink Labs is targeting schools opening in the fall with its BTS Temperature Scanner, noting that guidelines for opening are social distancing, health checks, and managing those who get sick.

They tout the BTS camera as "A safe way to accomplish all three is to use a contactless, “socially distanced” thermal scanner that keeps a log of temperatures with people’s pictures. Thereby reducing a majority of admin overhead".

They are touting "full-forehead scans with advanced algorithms" while claiming to scan up to 20 people "instantaneously":

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Ink Labs said the cameras are not capturing temperatures from the inner canthus/tear duct as recommended by the FDA.

While there is no recommendation or guidance from the CDC for schools to offer temperature screening, NYS Department of Health guidance notes that "schools and districts will be required to perform health checks and screenings".

Ink Labs said that NY schools are scrambling to find a solution to this requirement, and are looking for "quick, efficient and safe" methods for getting staff and students into school.

YCX Blackbody Optional / Ink Labs Not Offering

YCX offers 2 versions of its human body temperature cameras: with or without black body reference. YCX told IPVM “without the black body the accuracy of the camera is +/- 0.3 degrees C, then with the blackbody, it would be +/-0.2 degrees C”.

Ink Labs said they are not using a blackbody temperature reference, and are recommending single file screening to the 20 plus schools in Western NY they have demonstrated the system.

While we have not tested YCX's camera, we are skeptical of +/- 0.3 degrees C accuracy without the use of a blackbody. That level accuracy would exceed the performance of any thermal camera we have tested without a blackbody.

Claiming "Not Medical Grade Devices"

Ink Labs told IPVM they are notifying schools that the systems are "not medical grade devices", and that they are recommending secondary screening. However, the FDA has made it clear that fever cameras are medical devices.

HiSilicon SoC Used

Ink Labs marketing also falsely claims that the system is US Government approved:

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IPVM spoke to the camera manufacturer YCX, and they confirmed that the cameras use Huawei HiSilicon SoC covered by the NDAA ban.

Stolen Dahua Marketing

While they are not relabeling Dahua thermal cameras, Ink Labs used an image from a Dahua marketing video, on their product page for their Temperature Scanner:

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Dahua said they had "no knowledge of this" and would be looking into it.

It is common in 2020 for new providers of thermal cameras to use fake and stock photos. However, this further emphasizes that users have to navigate the challenges of finding out which providers legitimately understand the systems they are selling, and also which systems are capable of detecting elevated temperatures in their school/office/factory.

US Private School Accreditation Preferred Partner Removed

Ink Labs was listed as a preferred partner with the National Council for Private School Accreditation and was the only thermal/fever camera system listed.

The NCPSA is an association of private schools that offers technical service, distance learning, and student management system recommendations to its members. IPVM contacted them with our concerns and they reported that they have removed Ink Labs from the Preferred Partner page "until the concerns can be vetted".

Ink Labs Removes Page

After IPVM's inquiries, Ink Labs removed their webpage offering the thermal temperature scanner, however, they did not respond to clarify whether or not they stopped selling it.

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