From "pandemic drones" with thermal optics searching for COVID-19 carriers to Amazon using thermal cameras to screen employees for the virus – there's one certain thing: demand is surging for thermal sensors during the pandemic.
Bloomberg notes that thermal-imaging devices are in high demand among manufacturers and businesses preparing to reopen operations, who plan on using the technology to mitigate the spread of the virus.
FLIR Systems, one of the largest thermal imaging camera manufactures in the world, has reported a jump in demand:
"When the virus moved into Europe and North America, it was more Fortune 500 companies, hospital and health-care networks and immediate needs from essential business that were required to operate," Flir CEO Jim Cannon said in an interview.
Here's an example of a FLIR camera in use:
To control the spread of the virus, the "new normal" at corporate facilities appears to be the utilization of thermal cameras to screen for feverish employees.
Amazon is leading the charge with the installation of thermal cameras at its warehouses. They have made the screening of employees much more streamlined than using forehead thermometers.
Here's an alleged image of one thermal device at an Amazon warehouse. The cameras are not FLIR made, but rather from an outfit called Infrared Cameras Inc in Texas.
News on corporate America deploying thermal cameras has led to a jump in FLIR's stock.
General Motors and other automakers have recently confirmed they're deploying thermal cameras to screen employees.
Bloomberg notes some thermal cameras could range between $2,500 to $15,000 per device.
"Scanners can be used to detect higher body temperatures, a common symptom of Covid-19. They measure temperature on the skin's surface using infrared light to create a thermal image. They come in different forms from complex, fixed-position scanners to more basic hand-held devices. Costs can range from $2,500 to $15,000 each."
Bill Parrish, Co-Founder & CTO of Seek Thermal, said, "there is big demand" for thermals at the moment from "Fortune 500 companies." He said, "We have been inundated" with requests for products. "They are doing demos and evaluations to help them open up their factories.
Before the pandemic, thermal sensors have been widely deployed in warzones. So, one can make the argument that corporate America is using military technology to keep an eye on its workforce.
Besides screening at entrances of factories, thermals will be installed within facilities that will monitor workspaces for COVID-19 carriers.
Flir said it is gearing up for an exponential rise in demand for its sensors:
"If overnight huge industries place huge orders, that certainly will take time to satisfy those orders," Flir's Cannon said.
It's only a matter of time before corporations and governments deploy pandemic drones with thermals, hunting for virus carriers.
The rise of Big Brother is imminent, it's all happening under cover of the pandemic.