Police in China using surveillance helmets to scan people for COVID-19 fever


KC N901 smart helmet is equipped with an ARM processor, an augmented reality display screen, an infrared camera, and a visible light camera. According to device specifications seen by Business Insider, the wearer can detect the temperature, to within 0.3 degrees Celsius, of passers-by within around two meters.

A law enforcement officer wearing the helmet could do any of the following: Measure the temperature of a specific individual; measure the temperatures of people passing by in larger crowds; scan a person’s QR code for personal data; recognize license plates; spot people in the dark; or recognize people using facial recognition.

Any information captured is stored on the helmet itself, the company says.

According to KC Wearable’s global chief, Dr Jie Guo, more than 1,000 helmets are already in use across China. One unnamed country, she said, has ordered hundreds of helmets and more international deals are coming. The helmets cost between $5,000 to $7,000 per unit.

She added that customers put in early orders for samples, tested the devices out, and then put in larger orders.

The company says it has sent helmets to Italy’s carabinieri military police and to the Dutch government for testing. Police are also using the devices in Dubai.

Business Insider approached the Italian embassy and the Dutch government for comment. Neither responded, but an Italian user on Reddit spotted an armed guard sporting the helmets outside Milan’s cathedral this month.

Asked about the accuracy of the helmet’s temperature scanning, Dr Guo said precision was “96%” and that the company had conducted extensive tests.

Dr Guo told Business Insider: “Government authorities and some private buyers are using the helmets. In China, local policemen, nurses, security guards, and people [staffing] checking points at metro stations are all using the helmets.”

She added that the devices were flexible. “In many places, they use fixed infrared cameras, but our helmets can be used with higher flexibility, adaptability — it can be worn or put on a tripod.”

If a helmet on temperature-scanning mode detects someone nearby with a fever, an alarm goes off.

“It gives a warning to the user directly,” said Dr Guo.