A Chinese language tech firm has been utilizing a Mickey Mouse-shaped ‘Band-Assist’ to watch quarantined folks in 20 cities. Now it is making its Olympic debut.


This Mickey Mouse-shaped "Band-Aid," developed by Refresh Inc., a tech company in southern China, can track the wearer's body temperature in real time. Refresh Inc.

© Refresh Inc.
This Mickey Mouse-shaped “Band-Assist,” developed by Refresh Inc., a tech firm in southern China, can monitor the wearer’s physique temperature in actual time. Refresh Inc.

  • Workers at Olympics curling competitions are sporting thermometers that monitor their physique temperatures in actual time.
  • If knowledge reveals their physique temperatures altering abnormally, well being officers will monitor them down and escort them away for extra check-ups.
  • It is a part of the “black expertise” in use on the video games, which Beijing is utilizing to showcase Chinese language innovation.

Beijing is utilizing the winter Olympics as a chance to showcase a few of its most cutting-edge tech — and one such gadget, a Mickey Mouse-shaped “Band-Assist,” is at the moment making its debut within the curling competitions.


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The gadget in query is a temperature-tracking “Band-Assist” that is concerning the dimension of a US quarter and is being worn by workers and volunteers within the curling area. The gadget adheres on to the wearer’s pores and skin and transmits their temperature to a database. Officers are in a position to monitor the collected knowledge in actual time, poring by streams of reside knowledge to establish any irregular adjustments in wearers’ physique temperatures.

The thermometer was developed by Shenzhen-based Refresh Inc. Wang Lei, gross sales and advertising director for Refresh, stated the corporate’s purpose is to forestall a large-scale transmission of the coronavirus.

“These thermometers are like sentinels,” Wang advised Insider in a Chinese language-language interview. “We’re proud that our expertise helps in making a clear and protected Olympics that may be seen by the world.”

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Monitoring physique temperatures in actual time

Refresh took a few 12 months to develop the thermometers and began utilizing them on a big scale in June, when it helped municipal officers in 20 Chinese language cities monitor quarantined individuals, stated Wang. Up to now, greater than 100,000 items have been issued or offered to the general public, he stated.

Now, with the Olympics, the corporate is trying to monitor the physique temperatures of a number of wearers throughout a wider venue.

“We predict it is a leap in pandemic management measures,” stated Wang. “The place most temperature checks finish when the individual enters a venue, our thermometers proceed to watch physique temperatures even throughout the venue, which may choose up any delayed or sudden onset of signs.”

Staff at the Beijing National Aquatics Center combing through data received from the thermometers on their computers. Refresh Inc.

© Refresh Inc.
Workers on the Beijing Nationwide Aquatics Heart combing by knowledge acquired from the thermometers on their computer systems. Refresh Inc.

Workers and volunteers on the curling competitions, that are all held on the Beijing Nationwide Aquatics Heart, are required to put on the thermometer all through the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Video games. Wang was unable to reveal what number of thermometers are at the moment in use on the Olympics resulting from a non-disclosure settlement. He added that solely workers and volunteers are sporting the thermometer, not athletes, as a result of competitors guidelines dictate that athletes can not put on any clothes or gadgets that aren’t associated to the sport.

The organizing committee for the Beijing Winter Olympics didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.

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The thermometers are just below an inch in diameter and weigh about 0.07 ounces a bit. Their temperature-tracking sensors have a margin of error of 0.2 levels Celsius (.36 levels Fahrenheit), which has similarities to mercury-based ones licensed by Chinese language authorities, Wang stated. Batteries within the thermometers can run as much as a month and may be changed, he added.

Refresh Inc. employees setting up base stations and transmitters at the Beijing National Aquatic Center to receive and send data from the thermometers. Refresh Inc.

© Refresh Inc.
Refresh Inc. workers organising base stations and transmitters on the Beijing Nationwide Aquatic Heart to obtain and ship knowledge from the thermometers. Refresh Inc.

To watch the info, Refresh has arrange base stations and workstations on the Beijing Nationwide Aquatics Heart. Pc algorithms will choose up irregular adjustments in physique temperatures and alert onsite well being officers, who will escort the individual to a separate space for extra check-ups, stated Wang. 

The thermometers are a part of the wave of technological improvements, termed “black expertise” by Chinese language media, getting used on the video games. Robotic waiters and an ice machine that may decide how chilly or onerous the ice floor can get additionally quantity amongst these improvements. Chinese language officers and state media have repeatedly stated the Olympics are an ideal alternative to showcase Chinese language innovation.

Wang stated no coronavirus circumstances have been picked up by the thermometers on the Olympics up to now.

A positive stability

Authorized specialists say the usage of these thermometers highlights, as soon as once more, the positive stability governments and companies must strike between prioritizing private privateness and the necessity to stem the unfold of the coronavirus.

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The thermometers may influence wearers’ private privateness, stated Singapore-based lawyer Shaun Leong, and there should be correct guidelines in place about their utilization.

Whereas some might argue that physique temperatures should not sufficient to establish a person and erode that individual’s privateness, Leong stated the fact is that “that single knowledge level can result in a practice of inquiry on quite a lot of non-public and private issues, comparable to whether or not somebody has been vaccinated, what sort of vaccine has the individual chosen, whether or not somebody could possibly be an anti-vaxxer.”

Xia Hailong, a Shanghai-based lawyer specializing in knowledge privateness points, advised Insider the info from the thermometers should be utilized in a really slim, particular sense. He stated Chinese language legislation does have safeguards for private knowledge safety, and private knowledge from these thermometers will fall underneath the identical framework.

“In the long run, private knowledge safety must discover a good stability between people’, companies’, and governments’ wants,” he stated. 

“All this knowledge needs to be used just for the very particular function of stopping the unfold of the virus on the venue, and solely throughout curling competitions on the Beijing Video games,” Xia added.