View From the Hill: WKU Alum helps develop temperature screening product

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:33 PM CDT
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The Kentucky Thermal Institute is part of the Small Business Accelerator Program here at WKU’s Center for Research and Development. Founder John Harnage says when COVID hit, he realized he could create a product that would check temperatures in high traffic areas."

“I’ve spent the last fourteen years getting every certification and every credit hour you can get in the thermography world.”

When it comes to thermal imaging, WKU Alumnus John Harnage knows what he’s talking about.

But when COVID hit in March, he wasn’t sure what would happen to his business.

“The manufacturer of my equipment called on the Friday of my 50th birthday and cancelled every order, every pending order I had and said it would be at least four to six months before we got any product.”

When his customers began calling with questions about using thermal imaging cameras to check temperatures, Harnage knew it was time to pivot.

“What we built is a unit with a temperature control unit and when you see that it will rest right over your shoulder and that allows the camera to consistently calibrate so every three seconds the camera gets the blink and resets itself and keep taking temperatures.”

More accurate than the red dot gun, Harnage says the Elevated Body Temperature Screening Kiosk is the kind of system that’s in high demand.

“The government buildings, the movie theatres, the schools, they are looking for this type of solution. Problem is it hasn’t been out there. We’ve got that solution and it’s very affordable now.”

Harnage is amazed at all the WKU connections including a production company he found right next door.

“I walk around the corner and there’s a whole room full of WKU grads willing to help me put my education together and work with me.”

“We take that feed and we edit it and turn it into basically smaller segments to be distributed throughout the course.”

Bringing it full circle this the WKU alumnus.

“Although I started in 1988 but didn’t finish until 2002 and got those last nine hours that I needed to graduate, I owe it all to Kay Payne.”

"Harnage has teamed up with Pan Oston to manufacture the Elevated Body Temperature Screening Kiosks and the first ones will be available starting next week.

Copyright 2020 WBKO. All rights reserved.

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