Dartmouth Company Pioneers Automated, No-Touch Covid-19 Screening

HALIFAX — Dartmouth startup Rimot Inc. has unveiled a new, automated Covid-19 screening technology in two locations in Halifax.

The company’s thermal-camera-and-pedal-powered screening kiosks are now set up at Volta and the Halifax Partnership as part of a pilot program aimed at testing the technology.

The kiosks allow the organizations to screen for Covid-19 quickly and safely by automating the process and eliminating any need for physical contact.

“Rimot Technologies has taken the lead in creating a much-needed, innovative solution that will help organizations of all sizes navigate re-opening during this pandemic and establish best practice for allowing external visitors on site,” Volta CEO Martha Casey said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2016 and has traditionally developed and sold remote monitoring technology. Its flagship product, RimotRF, helps organizations remotely monitor critical systems like generators and wireless transmitters.

CEO Andrew Boswell says the same customers who use the RimotRF platform were the ones who inspired Rimot to apply its technology to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Those same customers, when Covid struck, were scrambling, particularly with essential workers, to figure out how to keep their workplaces safe,” Boswell explains. “So the genesis of what we now call RimoteHealth [was] our customers saying to us, ‘oh my gosh we’ve got to maintain operations through this, we need to keep our workplaces safe.’”

Boswell says Rimot realized screening was a vital part of helping organizations maintain that safety and that manual screening “is not a sustainable way to do it.”

The company began working on its RimotHealth prototype in May and has since shipped machines to organizations in North America and Europe.

RimotHealth not only automates the entire screening process, but it also makes it touchless.

The kiosks feature a thermal camera that can detect a person’s temperature without any physical contact. They’re also equipped with foot pedals that let the person being screened respond to screening questions without having to put their hands on anything.

Boswell says the process is “much safer, it’s much faster, and it’s more cost-effective than if [a human] has to administer those questions themself.”

The technology also takes advantage of the same remote monitoring platform that underpins the RimotRF system.

Organizations using the kiosk gain access to a portal where they can visualize the data it collects and see trends emerging. The same system can also send real-time alerts (if, for example, someone fails the screening test) and has applications for contact tracing.

The RimotHealth kiosks at Volta and the Halifax Partnership are part of a pilot project to help Rimot gather feedback on some new functionality they’ve built into the kiosks.

However, Boswell says the company has already shipped units to buyers in Canada, the United States, and the UK and that they have “a pretty robust pipeline” of potential future clients.

“We really appreciated Volta and the Halifax Partnership for stepping up early, deploying units, giving us feedback on them,” Boswell says. “It’s been so helpful to be part of the innovation district, and this is a very tangible example of that partnership.”

According to the Halifax Partnership, the RemotHealth pilot is the first project of the Halifax Innovation Outpost’s City as a Living Lab initiative, which is supported by Halifax Regional Municipality, Halifax Partnership, the Province of Nova Scotia, and Volta.

The initiative aims to help startups and scaleups beta test and evolve their products and services with public, private, post-secondary and community partners.

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