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Wearable tech could signal illness before you feel symptoms

Because one of the early signs of COVID-19 can be a fever, the goal of the technology is to tip users off before they know their temperature is a cause for concern.

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A Massachusetts company has developed a body temperature monitoring system that's about the size of the quarter, but could be key to flagging the first symptoms of COVID-19.

Dermal Photonics Corporation started developing its Nira Temp technology a few months ago in response to the pandemic. A small metal disc worn in a patch in the armpit transmits body temperature changes to a smartphone app.

"This is done automatically and automatically shared, so there's no hassle and it's much more accurate because it's continuous," said David Bean, president of Dermal Photonics Corporation.

Because one of the early signs of COVID-19 can be a fever, the goal of the technology is to tip users off before they know their temperature is a cause for concern.

"You can imagine if every student or every worker, or employee, could monitor themselves and not enter the workforce or enter campus unless they're perfectly healthy," Bean said.

With approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Bean said the company is ramping up production of Nira Temp to meet demand.

"So now we're making thousands per week and we have the capability to ramp to half a million per month," he said.

Dermal Photonics Corporation employees are not only producing the Nira Temp technology, they're using it, too. In a few cases, employees were alerted that they had a fever while they were sleeping and told to stay home from work.

Those fever alerts were eventually attributed to a few cases of the common cold, but because those employees stayed home, that illness wasn't spread to any other workers.