Smartphones have always been the modern technological equivalent of a Swiss Army knife, combining a phone, music player, camera, GPS, PDA, and more in one device. Now Huawei is launching another device that can be integrated into a smartphone: a thermometer. Honor Play 4 Pro’s Huawei has an IR temperature sensor built into the rear camera block that can measure the surface temperature of people and objects. In a year when containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is a major concern and fever may be an early indicator of infection, the Play 4 Pro is an extremely on-the-spot smartphone.
In a video posted on the Chinese social media site Weibo , Huawei demonstrates how the feature will work. Just point the phone at someone’s forehead, tap the app, and the phone will give you a temperature reading. Temperature checks are not a guaranteed way to screen for COVID-19, but fever is a symptom in most hospitalized cases and is very easy to check.
An IR sensor is not as accurate as a thermal imager, and neither device, which reads a surface temperature, is as accurate as an internally detected temperature. However, an IR sensor is cheap and they are already often integrated into a smartphone for face unlock and camera effects, so Huawei was able to react quickly to the pandemic.