Sphero spin-out Misty Robotics has announced an updated robot that leverages a thermal camera sensor to provide friendly temperature screening for offices.

An update to the company’s existing Misty robot, Misty II is designed to serve as an in-office assistant that provides temperature screening with an accuracy of 0.5°C in a more relaxed and engaging way than with other technologies, which are increasingly being embraced as part of wider plans to re-open places of work.

With the same physical appearance as the original Misty robot, the small, humanoid robot has round eyes and is designed to sit on a reception desk, where it greets visitors. The robot then asks them to stand still while it checks their temperature, which is logged on the company’s system.

If an employee passes, they will be given permission to enter the building, but if they are found to have a temperature or report themselves as ill, a member of staff will be alerted to conduct secondary screening.

The robot, which has been certified for sale under US and European regulations, will be available in mid-July for a cost of $2,999 plus a “modest monthly fee”. Misty also provides the temperature screening robot through and “all-in monthly fee”, although has not disclosed the specific pricing.

Temperature screening robot to provide enjoyable experience

Misty Robotics has previously focused on developing its robot for companies to tailor to their own specific applications through its “skills” platform, with Misty II’s application for temperature-screening being the first time it has developed an in-house skill for the robot that will be utilised for end-users.

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“If you had talked to us six weeks ago, we deliver a tool, a piece of clay, for a business and they’re software developers to create robot solutions,” said Tim Enwall, CEO at Misty Robotics.

“The recession affects everybody – it certainly affects us and some of the sales of robots. So we decided to create an application.”

However, it sees this application as well-suited to Misty’s design due to the friendly nature of the robot.

“I went to the dentist last week and I had the whole screening questions that they read out to me and took my temperature with the temperature gun. But it really feels uncomfortable, especially answering those questions to another person,” said Ian Bernstein, founder and head of product at Misty Robotics.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people that are going through and interacting with Misty that they’re enjoying doing it. It’s not something that they don’t want to do.

“Many people like take video of the experience, take photos, they want to do it again, even though they know they’re already okay.”

Read more: Temperature-checking robots to combat coronavirus in China