Electronic Products & Technology

News

Airwave Electronics develops device to remotely screen for COVID-19

Development is in progress towards an accredited laboratory for a prototype unit that detects disease from a distance without the need for close contact


Airwave Electronics/Environmental developed AE2430/2440 HYFED, a hydrogen flame emission detector, which is a direct reading continuous ambient monitor that uses a flame photometric detector (FPD). (Photo Source: Airwave Electronics/Environmental)

Calgary area-based Airwave Electronics/Environmental, a long-time innovator in chemical gas sensing technologies, is developing a device to detect the COVID-19 virus immediately and at safe social distancing. Technology that has long been used throughout the world to detect gas leaks and monitor pollution levels is now being developed to screen for public health.

The device leverages the same concept that enables dogs to reliably sniff out gases associated with cancer and other diseases. It uses infrared technology (FTIR) to scan for the unique emission spectrum of people carrying the COVID-19 virus. Results are immediate, without intrusive testing or personal contact.

Small, light enough to be held by one person

The device is small enough and light enough to be transported by a single operator. Its versatility enables it to be mounted on a portable stand, such as a tripod, or permanently secured to static structures, enabling a multitude of applications for its use, including area surveillance. A small video camera in the system enables the user to point the instrument at a desired target area.

Located in Didsbury AB, halfway between Calgary and Red Deer, Airwave Electronics/Environmental aims to develop a viable solution that is cost-effective and practical for mass detection of the COVID-19 virus and public health monitoring. The device will significantly help health care workers and others observe safe social distancing guidelines now and well into the future. At this time, COVID-19 tests are in short supply, and the use of current testing methods requires the consumption of a dwindling supply of one-time-use personal protective equipment (PPE).