GovTech's improved temperature scanner, made in speedy time, costs $200 instead of $1,000
To help Singapore in its fight against Covid-19, the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) designed an improved contactless temperature scanner far cheaper than the original version.
It then mass produced 340 machines in about two weeks so that they could be rolled out to eldercare facilities. These facilities needed to conduct temperature taking as a precautionary measure, especially as the country reopened .
Mr Steven Teo, GovTech's assistant director of sensors and Internet of Things, told The New Paper it had received feedback that the original model, which was produced in March, was bulky and difficult to transport.
The Agency for Integrated Care had also approached GovTech to improve the design and make the scanner cheaper.
Mr Teo said: "We had to brainstorm for about a week on how to improve the design, followed by two weeks of tearing apart the thermometer and then reverse engineering it."
For example, the team figured out a way to switch the temperature display to the front of the scanner and managed to do away with components such as the video camera. The removal of extra components lowered the cost of the thermometer from about $1,000 to about $200.
But after the prototype came out at the end of March, the team members had to take a three-month break when the circuit breaker kicked in on April 7 and manpower became an issue.
When they returned, they had to assemble the scanners in two weeks to be distributed to 340 eldercare facilities in July.
Mr Teo said: "Having a three-man team do all that, it was just not possible, especially because we had to do everything from scratch."
They had to recruit more than 30 volunteers from other government agencies.
Mr Teo said: "We also had to abide by safe distancing measures and made sure the assembly process was manageable for volunteers without technical expertise."
The team chose to assemble the scanners in-house and not outsource the process because it would drive up costs.
"We just wanted to contribute our part in the fight (against Covid-19)."