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Screen Door: A Safe, Innovative, Human-Centered Approach To Opening Up Public Spaces

In the News:

Pandemic Tech News – by Dustin Boutet, Director of Innovation Consulting, EPAM Continuum

We’re steadying ourselves to unlock our economy and walk back into our social lives. As we make that journey, what kind of assurances will we need to feel confident in our new circumstances? Will we build a system of invasive and intrusive health tracking, or will we look to design a more ambient health screening system that respects our privacy and humanity? How will you be able to discern at a distance if a place is safe?

At EPAM Continuum, we think the future will need to balance managing risk while allowing us to proceed with our lives. To accomplish this, we’ve envisioned a solution that we call Screen Door.Screen Door uses fast thermal imaging, radio signals, and computer vision to spot early indicators of COVID-19.

Technology already exists to scan for measuring elevated body temperature, or EBT. The convenience of fast read cycles and safety of automated and non-contact sensing approaches are presumed critical to value. Screen Door adds sensors and algorithms to detect elevated heart rate and respiration rate, to make the system more accurate. Most importantly, we incorporate a human-centered service design with a bias to assist those in need with a PPE, referral, or ride, rather than sounding an alarm or shaming. This systems-thinking approach will ensure the safety of our public environments and promote a culture of respect and human empathy.

In short: Screen Door will help the public navigate their new normal without fanning the pandemic-induced anxiety that’s become part of daily life. We should add that symptom screening won’t catch every potential for exposure that presents an infection risk. Screen Door just makes a minimal level of confirmation easier, less intimidating and with less contact between people.

The Process

Screen Door is needed today in a myriad of venues where people gather—at sporting events or concerts; at airports; in offices or factories. Here’s how it works:

  • From a distance, visitors recognize that place is safe with the Screen Door light beacon and iconic shape.
  • Visitors are quickly scanned for elevated body temperature. If needed, they are asked to pause for a respiratory scan.
  • Depending on the environment, visitors receive a certificate or visual indicators. Imagine a colorful wrist band to show they’ve been designated “safe.”

If testing indicates concern, visitors may answer questions, receive consultation, and possibly PPE, if appropriate. Depending on their condition, they can request a safe ride home or to a testing facility or clinic.

By combining elevated temperature screening and case-by-case respiratory scanning, Screen Door creates a non-invasive approach that is practical and scalable. And scale is exactly what we need as the nation—the world—finally leaves lockdown.

A Better Way

It’s important to understand why we’re proposing Screen Door. We’ve all seen imperfect examples of symptom screening, where masked officials have the authority to point a thermal gun at people’s foreheads or drones collecting data without consent or transparency. There’s a more human-centered way to move forward.

We can do better. Screen Door will do better. Screen Door will give employers, venues, and brands an ambient method to sense potential symptoms with durability, speed, and accuracy while protecting the health and anonymity of employees and patrons. The modular embodiments of Screen Door are designed for end customers to configure a non-contact screening system that meets their business needs and regulatory requirement when handling dozens to thousands of guests or employees.

We also need to acknowledge that there are a lot of people who never had a chance to exit this public space in the first place. These frontline employees are the reason we’ve been able to keep our lives moving, and Screen Door deeply considers their needs.

Note: Companies are not supposed to keep records of employee temperatures, even with pandemic guidance from CDC. Screen Door can help with compliance and safety by ensuring everyone is screened who enters a particular location, and those who are displaying symptoms can be safely engaged, without the need to collect or reveal their identity.

The Screen Door Ecosystem

Screen Door is a system that embodies five essential elements: privacy, speed, accuracy, helpfulness, and transparency. To achieve these, we’ve envisioned a tiered ecosystem.

By linking together an ecosystem of anonymized health data we can get a much clearer picture if someone is presenting symptoms of COVID-19. Screen Door and the COVID Resistance app can work in tandem, providing a secure way to anonymously monitor early symptoms and track transmission through contact tracing. Opting into other sensors, such as wearables and pulse oximetry, can provide a richer data set to consider when providing guidance.

Since everyone has a different baseline, it’s often more important to see trends over time, rather than a singular reading, and integrating third-party sensors will bolster the ability of standalone readers like Screen Door to do so.

Humans of Screen Door

Screen Door isn’t just about tech. It’s also about trust. By applying a holistic approach to ethical automation and end-to-end service design, it can help businesses balance the needs for high-throughput accessibility and trust in health safety.

Our human-centered service design will inform and encourage workers to deal compassionately with people who, say, receive false positives and to provide PPE dispensing, testing, or treatment guidance for all.

A Door for All

With Screen Door helping to assess and manage risk, we envision a future of gatherings and travel in which employees and customers are less worried about assessing threats to health and more engaged in caring for each other. Better screening can positively impact customers and employees, and in turn, businesses. When people feel safe at work and in public spaces, business can once again thrive.

The original article can be found here.