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Can these smart glasses tell you if someone has COVID-19?

Everyone is worried about catching the coronavirus and looking for ways to avoid it. Beyond washing your hands constantly, there are some other things you can do that will help.

For one, when you order groceries or supplies to be delivered you should always disinfect the packages as soon as they arrive. Tap or click here to find out how to place orders safely and sanitize deliveries.

Obviously, another thing we should all be doing is trying to avoid people who have COVID-19. That’s easier said than done. The good news is there’s a new piece of technology that can help spot an infected person from afar. At least that’s what the company behind it is promising.

What are T1 glasses?

Rokid, a startup based in Hangzhou, China, has put its collective tech knowledge to good use by developing the T1 Thermal Smart Glasses, which are wearable and can supposedly help screen people for symptoms of COVID-19 without having to break the suggested six-foot distancing rule being used to limit transmission.

Rokid developed the glasses in about two weeks, which can be worn to help users “see” someone’s temperature from a distance, among other things. These features are helpful in the fight against coronavirus because they allow users to safely monitor symptoms of illness without having to get up close and personal with the potential carrier.

Unsurprisingly, these glasses have proven to be pretty popular thus far in both China and the U.S. Let’s take a look at what the T1 glasses can do, how they work, and the companies and governing bodies that are using them.

T1 Thermal Smart Glasses are from a Chinese tech company that is normally in the business of developing augmented-reality products. The startup developed these glasses in a matter of weeks to help in the fight against coronavirus.

The glasses use an infrared sensor, a Qualcomm CPU, a 12-megapixel camera and augmented reality features to offer fixed and portable, distant temperature checks. They have the ability to “see” up to 200 people’s temperatures in two minutes from a distance of 10 feet away. The glasses also offer hands-free voice controls, which can be used to record live photos and videos.

The company is offering IoT and software solutions for facial recognition and data management to work in tandem with T1 glasses. These features could be important tools in the fight against coronavirus, given that they could cut down on some person-to-person contact while screening for signs of COVID-19.

The glasses could also be a useful tool to help identify people who have a fever in crowded spaces like public transit and shopping malls or other high-risk areas, where a single COVID-19 carrier could infect dozens of people. T1 glasses are relatively new to the market but the startup already has plans to upgrade them with the ability to take temperature readings for up to four people at a time.

While the idea of being able to screen for fevers from a distance of 10 feet is a novel one, there are questions of whether these glasses could cause privacy issues for the people being screened or photographed with them. There are also concerns as to whether using these glasses in certain capacities could violate HIPAA.

Rokid has stated that it won’t store or collect information from T1 glasses directly, but the glasses connect via USB and can be set up for IoT capabilities to allow clients to sync to their own platforms and collect information that way.

There are also concerns as to how effective these glasses really are in the fight against COVID-19. Having a fever is only one sign of coronavirus, and research has shown that more than half of China’s COVID-19 patients did not have a fever when admitted to hospital.

You may also like: Your computer can help scientists cure COVID-19

What companies are using — or plan to use — T1 glasses?

The startup, which has a U.S. location in San Franciso, has already sold over 1,000 pairs of T1 glasses to national authorities, schools, and industrial or national parks in China to help screen for symptoms. It has seen an increase in demand from the public, too.

It also plans B2B sales of T1 glasses in the U.S. to help businesses, hospitals, and law enforcement with COVID-19 detection. That’s according to Rokid’s U.S. Director Liang Guan, who spoke to TechCrunch via email about the glasses.

Rokid said it is working on deals with some U.S. hospitals and local municipalities on shipments of T1 glasses, but could not disclose names due to confidentiality agreements.

Emerging tech like T1 glasses might be able to help avoid those infected with COVID-19 if they work as promised. We’ll have to wait and see just how effective they are once they’re in wider use.

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