Daily Drip

Chinese Start-up Launches Coronavirus-Detecting Glasses


Rokid, a Hangzhou-based AI startup, has developed a thermal imaging component for its T1 glasses, allowing wearers to detect people’s temperatures from 3 meters away.

The company was founded in 2014 by Eric Wong and Mingming Zhu, with a focus on AI and AR tech for manufacturing and gaming. When Covid-19 broke out, the company sprung into action to provide businesses and authorities with a thermal detection imaging tool that was wearable, portable and more effective than options like imaging stations in transport hubs. The company shifted focus in late 2019 and developed the product in less than two months.

COVID Detecting Glasses

The glasses are equipped with a 12 megapixel camera and infrared sensor that can determine the temperatures of up to 200 people in two minutes at a distance of up to 3 meters. The onboard CPU also allows for augmented reality features like live recording and voice controls. T1 software can even be integrated into clients’ own platforms.

The technology successfully assisted security forces and school authorities across China in attempts to curb the spread of Covid-19, but Rokid has its sights on the US market as well.


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Rokid’s US Director Liang Guan told TechCrunch that the company has commenced negotiations for B2B sales of the T1 glasses to hospitals, law enforcement and a number of commercial businesses. However, Rokid’s integration feature could cause problems as US regulators become increasingly wary of Chinese tech firms’ data and privacy policies. The company says that it does not collect data directly from the glasses, but negotiations could be stalled if US regulators involve themselves.

The technology is not a perfect solution for detection, especially since many Covid-19 patients do not show fevers even after being infected. But if widely adopted, the T1 wearables have the potential to bolster detection efforts in the US and save lives.

Images: Rokid

Markus Sherman
    Markus Sherman is a fourth-year at the University of Southern California. Markus has travelled all over the world and is obsessed with sharing unique stories with anyone who will listen. In his free time, Markus likes to take photos, listen to music, study Chinese and play chess with the homies.

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