Earlier in February, when the coronavirus began to spread out of Hubei Province, where it first detected, the Chinese government issued a national warning that fever could be initial sign of an infection. Several days later, on 12th February, they announced a 60,000 shortage of infrared thermometer nationwide.
A month later, Xia Qing, cofounder of Mushroom Cloud Makerspace, brought to work an infrared thermometer build by Dy Yong, a member from his maker community. “After the vision sensor recognizes each face passing by, the non-contact infrared temperature sensor detects its body temperature and shows live parameter on screen. The red light turns on when the tested temperature goes above normal range.”
Xia Qing explained that the project only takes a maker one day to build and costs ten percent of a similar product on the market. “You could need another 2-3 weeks to make it more accurate, but so far it’s suitable for a family or workplace precaution.”
The thermometer is among the 87 projects from an online campaign launched by Xia Qing and his maker community, DFRobot Maker Community, the biggest online maker community in China. “The idea was first proposed by one of our members, to call for makers to create projects that can benefit families and students during this special period of pandemic.” Gong Chen, who runs DFRobot Maker Community, said that other popular projects from this campaign include a broadcasting system that updates statistics of the pandemic in different parts of the country.
The campaign received instant response from the society. “DFRobot (owner of DFRobot Maker Community and Mushroom Cloud Makerspace) received an increasing amount of inquiries in past two months, mostly about non-contact infrared temperature sensors.” According to DFRobot, the infrared temperature sensors it provides went out of stock within a week. The company is now working hard to make the products available again before the middle of April.