Smart helmets to scan body temperature at mosques

James Kon & Syazwani Hj Rosli

Brunei Darussalam will deploy smart helmets to scan body temperatures at mosques during Friday prayers.

The newly acquired high-tech equipment, which is also utilised in numerous countries, will be used to facilitate the flow of the congregants into mosques.

A practical demonstration was given at the Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah yesterday on the smart helmet’s features. It is capable of monitoring the temperatures of people while they are moving, which are then displayed on a visor on the right side of the helmet and a laptop.

The function and settings of the helmet can be accessed using its own smart watch.

The smart technology will be used at nine places of worship today: Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah, Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Mohamed Bolkiah Mosque in Serusop, Al-Ameerah Al-Hajjah Maryam Mosque in Jerudong, Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Mentiri, Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Tutong, RPN Kampong Pandan Mosque in Kuala Belait, Muhammad Jamalul Alam Mosque in Kuala Belait and RPN Kampong Lambak Kanan Mosque.

The list of mosques utilising this technology will be subject to change every week.

Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Management) at the Ministry of Health (MoH) Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin said at a press conference, “The smart helmet has five different functions. Currently, we are only using it to scan temperatures. Individuals attending the mosques will have their temperate scanned instead of using a temperature gun, so the process will be quicker and reduce crowding. It helps to smoothen the process of people
entering mosques.”

When asked how many smart helmets would be assigned to a mosque, he replied, “It depends on the size of the mosque. The Ministry of Health recently acquired 12, which are being distributed to selected mosques depending on the situation and capacity.

An officer wears the smart helmet to scan people
An officer wears the smart helmet to scan people during a demonstration yesterday. PHOTOS: RAHWANI ZAHARI
An officer scans people during a demonstration yesterday at Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah.
An officer scans people during a demonstration yesterday at Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah.

“At Jame’ ‘Asr Hassanil Bolkiah, two smart helmets will be utilised at various entry points, to scan the congregants as they enter.”

Explaining the functionality of the helmet, he said “For the smart helmet, there is no limit in scanning several people at a time, since it is capable of performing mass scans.

“If the temperature is over 37 degrees Celsius, an alarm will sound off in the helmet worn by the officer. The officer will then identify the person with a high temperature and isolate him.

After a while, the individual will be scanned again, to check if the temperature has gone down.”

He added, “At present, we need to see the effectiveness of the helmet. Besides using it at mosques for the Friday prayers, the smart helmet can also be used in public areas like malls.

Apart from that, we also have thermal scanning at the airport and at hospitals, but they are limited in mobility. By comparison, the smart helmet can be easily put to use by just putting it on and using a laptop.

“During this COVID-19 situation, there is a limit of 30 per cent capacity in mosques for the Friday prayers. This means there are many who are unable to attend because they didn’t get the slots, or lacking the requisite smart phones to book the slots. We are also concerned about this issue.

“We are trying to find a solution, so that everyone can attend the Friday prayers, but for now it’s limited. For those who couldn’t book slots, I appeal to them not to join the queues at the mosques. This may lead to overcrowding and cause those with booked slots to miss the
Friday prayers.

“Insya Allah, the de-escalation plan will be expanded in the future, so that more people will be allowed in mosques.”

A briefing on the procedures and guidelines for the safe re-opening of mosques was also held yesterday for members of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Police Force, as well as mosque officials and volunteers.