Case Study: Combating COVID-19 with a Contactless, AI-Based Thermal Imaging Device

Xometry manufactured various housings and mounts for X.Labs, a startup developing a thermal imaging device to identify individuals in a crowd with elevated temperatures, in just one month. The device comes at a pivotal moment in the COVID19 outbreak.

By Serena Ngoh · May 04, 2020

At a Glance

Project Brief

Manufacturing Services Utilized

Solution

X.Labs, a startup R&D firm specializing in advanced sensing and warning technology, needed to fabricate housings and mounts for their contactless heat detection product, Feevr. They looked for a manufacturer that could deliver a bespoke, sterilizable, and durable manufacturing solution.

Xometry produced prototype and end-use parts with:
  • HP Multi Jet Fusion using Glass Filled Nylon, and TPU 95A
  • Selective Laser Sintering using Nylon 12
  • Injection molding using ABS
  • Compression-molded rubber
  • Xometry rapidly manufactured parts for X.Labs—moving through the full hardware development cycle from prototyping to production—within one month. Xometry met X.Lab’s strict manufacturing criteria for durable and medical-grade parts to deliver unique solutions for government entities worldwide.

    The Challenge: The Race Against a Global Pandemic

    When COVID-19 began to spread in December 2019, CEO and founder of X.Labs Barry Oberholzer realized that a former defense project that harnessed AI-based heat detection technology would pivot easily into a tool used to fight the spread of the coronavirus. The heat detection technology could be used to identify people in a crowd with elevated body temperatures of 37°C, signaling a fever, which is one symptom of the highly contagious coronavirus. By rapidly identifying those with symptoms, discreetly notifying medical authorities, and testing them for the virus, public health officials can curb the rates of COVID-19 infection.

    Oberholzer worked with a team of engineers and deployment specialists including Jasun Tate, the current CSO and chief information security officer of X.Labs, to launch Feevr, a contactless heat detection device that can be installed in public spaces to scan forehead temperatures of passing foot traffic. With governments reporting exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases each passing day, the team worked to rapidly design and prototype their threat detection device. “We are in the business of saving lives and preventing catastrophes,” says Tate. “That’s what we do and we have to do it fast.”

    X.Labs turned to Xometry not only for its speed, but because Xometry could deliver on every feature and material requirement with its vast range of manufacturing and customization options.

    Pictured above: An early prototype of the Feevr technology phone case, printed in-house by X.Labs on a desktop FDM printer.

    Rapid Product Development with Help from Xometry

    “It’s beautiful to see how fast Xometry can get things done. We’re two companies with passions for saving the world during an emergency situation.”
    —Jasun Tate, Chief Security Officer at X.Labs

    Because of Xometry’s vast range of capabilities and fast lead times, X.Labs turned to Xometry to manufacture various housings and mounts for Feevr. Their manufacturing criteria were based on 3 major factors: the device would have to be sterilizable, durable against a variety of environmental conditions, and custom-designed for governmental healthcare and public safety organizations.

    Xometry employed 3D printing technologies—specifically, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) with Nylon 12, and HP Multi Jet Fusion with TPU 95A—as well as injection molding and compression molding to meet the design requirements of various end-use environments. For example, the air is often dry in Middle Eastern countries and more humid in Southeast Asian countries, which means Feevr devices in more humid conditions must be molded to eliminate microbial adhesion potential. Tate says the designs of the Feevr device, which are currently available for pre-order, are bespoke. “Each device is ordered en masse and made to the client’s specifications. The only company that can offer this level of uniqueness is Xometry. That’s why [the company] is a perfect match for us,” said Tate.

    In close collaboration with the Xometry application engineering team, the X.Labs team finalized their designs and had their parts in hand within days.

    Tate was astounded by the speed of product development, spurred by the close unity of prototype specialists at X.Labs with manufacturing experts at Xometry. “It’s beautiful to see how fast Xometry can get things done. Technology has allowed us to get solutions on the ground to impacted areas with minimal problems. We’re two companies with passions for saving the world during an emergency situation,” said Tate.

    Pictured above: The end use parts manufactured by Xometry for X.Labs. Xometry custom 3D printed the Feevr battery case (top) with selective laser sintering (SLS) Nylon 12, paired with secondary process screen printing. Xometry compression-molded in rubber a case for the core Feevr technology (bottom).

    Xometry: A Quickturn Supplier During Critical Situations

    Xometry and X.Labs worked together to produce a robust medical device to combat COVID-19 in just one month’s time. The housing and mounts, which are integral to providing flexibility and durability for the device, were manufactured with medical-grade materials with meticulous manufacturing design feedback from Xometry staff.

    Since Xometry has a network of over 4,000 global manufacturing partners, many of which are currently classified as essential businesses during government-mandated lockdowns, X.Labs was able to source their prototype and end-use components during a pivotal moment in time—before any vaccine was developed and before COVID19’s peak infection rate in many countries. The Feevr device can be used to curb the initial outbreak of COVID19, as well as in months to come as individuals begin to venture back into public spaces. Feevr will be a tool to combat recurring waves of COVID-19 infection as well as any future health crises. The company will continue to work with Xometry on future iterations of Feevr and well as on other life-saving technologies.

    Tate describes Xometry as an adaptive, innovative, and timely manufacturing service that can change the world. “The ability of Xometry to take what was developed in the mind and manifest a solution in the real world was exemplary. Simply unprecedented.”

    “We made each device to the client’s specifications. The only company that can offer this level of uniqueness is Xometry. That’s why [the company] is a perfect match for us.”
    —Jasun Tate, Chief Security Officer at X.Labs

    Posted in Additive Case Studies

    About Xometry

    Xometry is your one-stop shop for manufacturing on demand. Xometry works with 32% of Fortune 100 companies, offering 24/7 access to instant pricing, expected lead times and manufacturability feedback. Xometry’s nationwide network of 4,000+ partner manufacturing facilities guarantees consistently fast lead times across a broad array of capabilities, including CNC Machining, 3D Printing, Sheet Metal, Metal Stamping, Die Casting, Extrusion, Urethane Casting, and Injection Molding.

    Featured Content

    Case Study: BMW Uses Xometry’s Range of Technologies to Make Custom Assembly Tooling

    BMW tooling engineers can use Xometry’s CNC machining, 3D printing, and urethane casting for custom assembly fixtures, which allows the company to put the finishing touches on its vehicles quickly and cost-effectively.

    Read on  

    Case Study: An Industrial Automation Company Rethinks Fixturing with 3D Printing

    This automation solution provider works with Xometry to create custom switch housing for their customers’ variable production needs

    Read on  

    Case Study: Standard Motor Products Uses 3D Printing to Reduce Tool Lead Time by Over 70%

    See how this established automotive company is transitioning to 3D printing for the production of tools, jigs, and fixtures to significantly reduce both cost and lead time.

    Read on