Credit Card-sized SARS Thermometer Now

Singapore: | Updated: May 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
A Singapore company unveiled on Thursday its latest accessory for the SARS-savvy consumer: a credit card-sized thermometer that displays temperatures in a tiny LCD screen. If pressed to a forehead for five to 10 seconds, a temperature is displayed or a blinking light warns of fever, depending on the model and configuration.

The latest in SARS-era gadgetry is produced by ST Electronics Ltd, a unit of government-backed defence conglomerate ST Engineering Ltd which also builds thermal imaging scanners now used to check the temperature of airport travellers. At a news conference on Thursday, ST Electronics president Seah Moon Ming said SARS-related products were expected to generate sales of S$10 million ($5.8 million) to S$20 million this year, or about five per cent of 2003 group revenues. Last years revenues were around S$600 million.

Mr Seah said 138 of the scanners have been sold. The price has fallen to around S$90,000 each from S$150,000 in late April when the healthcare crisis peaked in Singapore. Around 70 per cent went to Singapore and the rest to other Asian countries.

From June, ST will initially produce 20,000 units of the new thermometers, which use electronic chips to detect fever.