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Smart helmet for COVID-19 screening comes to SA

Read time 3min 20sec

As more companies prepare to resume operations under level three of COVID-19 regulations, local firm Granule Holdings is distributing smart helmets to monitor people for high temperatures in the fight against the pandemic.

The smart helmets were developed by Chinese-based KC Wearable, which operates in many different high-technology industries, including aerospace, communications and artificial intelligence.

The company says the KC N901 smart helmet can scan the temperatures of up to 200 people every minute and has been well received by authorities in countries such as China, Italy, The Netherlands and Dubai.

According to KC Wearable's global chief, Dr Jie Guo, more than 1 000 helmets are already in use across China, and cost between R92 000 and R130 000 per unit.

More people are expected to return to work under relaxed COVID-19 regulations, and the spotlight has shifted to safety in the workplace. Granule has joined other companies that are offering solutions to help comply with safety requirements.

This week, Vodacom started offering multiple Internet of things (IOT) solutions targeting businesses as they re-open.

The telco says technology can play a critical role in helping businesses implement back-to-work protocols through the use of IOT, artificial intelligence and analytics.

Equally, Granule says the KC N901 smart helmet comes equipped with an Advanced RISC Machines processor, an augmented reality display screen, an infrared camera for night use, as well as a visible light camera for daytime use.

The wearer can detect the temperature, within 0.3 degrees Celsius, of people standing about two metres apart.

“The product offers the ability to do rapid screening and can be used for indoor and outdoor screening, which is important in our country in informal settlements, public transportation hubs, corporates, industrial plants and medical providers. It works on temperature recording and keeps a history of the individuals scanned,” says Jeremy Capouya, founder and CEO of Granule Holdings.

“It also incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) that makes use of facial recognition and licence plate recognition. This makes it an efficient and easy device to use for screening at large public areas, busy economic hubs and border control.”

According to the company, the device is designed to work offline, and all data is stored on the helmet itself, which has a 64GB internal memory.

“The AI capabilities support offline face and licence plate recognition. Face recognition allows the device to recognise a person’s face and pull up their personal information from its database, making it an ideal use case for airports, the banking sector, mining sites and manufacturing plants, to manage their employees and visitors.”

Furthermore, Granule says, with number plate recognition, the wearer can identify unauthorised vehicles recorded in its database. Bluetooth and WiFi capability make the data easily transferable at a later stage.

Granule notes the helmet is also fitted with AI-driven 3D barcode recognition and QR code identification to automatically record personal temperature information into the smart helmet’s database in real-time, allowing paperless data logging.

The KC N901 smart helmet runs off the Windows and Android operating systems. The helmet also comes with a smartwatch, which can run all functions of the helmet, as required by the user.

According to Capouya: “The helmets need less time and contact than traditional temperature-screening products and thermometers, and can measure temperatures from five metres away. An alert is triggered if a fever is detected.

“It is especially crucial at this time – when there is an urgent need to resume economic activity – that we put in place whatever measures we can to take the pressure off our healthcare system and help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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