Thermal image analysis for detecting facemask leakage

Jonathan Dowdall, Ioannis Pavlidis, James Levine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Due to the modern advent of near ubiquitous accessibility to rapid international transportation the epidemiologic trends of highly communicable diseases can be devastating. With the recent emergence of diseases matching this pattern, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an area of overt concern has been the transmission of infection through respiratory droplets. Approved facemasks are typically effective physical barriers for preventing the spread of viruses through droplets, but breaches in a mask's integrity can lead to an elevated risk of exposure and subsequent infection. Quality control mechanisms in place during the manufacturing process insure that masks are defect free when leaving the factory, but there remains little to detect damage caused by transportation or during usage. A system that could monitor masks in real-time while they were in use would facilitate a more secure environment for treatment and screening. To fulfill this necessity, we have devised a touchless method to detect mask breaches in real-time by utilizing the emissive properties of the mask in the thermal infrared spectrum. Specifically, we use a specialized thermal imaging system to detect minute air leakage in masks based on the principles of heat transfer and thermodynamics. The advantage of this passive modality is that thermal imaging does not require contact with the subject and can provide instant visualization and analysis. These capabilities can prove invaluable for protecting personnel in scenarios with elevated levels of transmission risk such as hospital clinics, border check points, and airports.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsG. Raymond Peacock, D.D. Burleigh, J.J. Miles
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventThermosense XXVII - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Mar 29 2005Mar 31 2005


OtherThermosense XXVII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Epidemiology
  • Facemask leakage
  • Thermography
  • Touchless monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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