Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Literally Two Seconds: Exergen Temporal Scanner Measures Up

This might show just a bit of neurosis, but ever since we received an Exergen Temporal Scanner earlier this summer, I've been on watch for someone in our household to have a fever. Fortunately, my insanity cannot conjure actual events, so we've stayed healthy all summer.

That good health hasn't quelled our curiosity or stopped us from playing with the Temporal Scanner.

Upon taking the scanner out of its plastic clamshell packaging, I noticed that the battery door did not have any super-accessible tabs for opening (like most remote controls). With toddlers in the house, that is a huge relief. Ranger has been a dedicated electronics hacker since gaining manual dexterity, and the batteries are always his first target upon disassembly.

The included 9-volt battery also underlines this tool's smart design. A 9-volt is a long lasting battery (actually a series of 6 AAAA batteries under one covering) that doesn't roll off the table, and doesn't look snack sized to most humans.

This amazingly fast thermometer produces a consistent result in seconds. We never had any luck with ear thermometers and our cheap CVS-brand temporal scanner takes FOREVER to determine a temperature (and never offers the same result twice). Unlike oral digital thermometers and ear thermometers (which estimate a real body temperature from a number of samples), the Exergen measures real body temperature from the temporal artery (forehead) and then accounts for heat loss due to room temperature.

The simple one-button design has an elegance that only comes from a passionate and talented expert. This isn't something dreamt up by non-techs and then half-heartedly executed by a team of engineers. This smart device was developed by a Havard research physicist with special interest in medical technology (Francesco Pompei).

Pompei and his wife head this Massachusetts-based company and have made impressive choices for their company: Exergen temporal scanners are made in the United States. How many digital products can make that claim these days?

We love the Exergen temporal scanner. It promises to be fast, accurate, and non-invasive when we're testing a grouchy, sickly family member.

It's recommended retail price is around $50, but will outperform and outlast its cheaper competitors. Currently the Exergen can be found at Amazon (for around $32), Walgreens, both R Us chains, Sam's Club, and Costco (among other brick and mortar and online sellers).

In the future, we'd love to see the option of a hard-sided case (for protection during travel and storage).


Mimi-n-Moe's Mom said...

My pediatrician's office won't take readings from any temporal thermometers. So, if I call in reporting my child's illness, they want to know rectal or armpit readings only. I don't know how widespread that practice is, but I thought I would share.

Jim said...

I am not sure about our pediatrician, but it wasn't until very recently that I could even get Ranger to let me take his armpit temperature. He would get so worked up that by the third or fourth time that it actually took to get a reading, I was pretty sure that his numbers were elevated.

I like to use the temporal thermometer to get a basic reading and look at trends (is his temperature going up or is it going down). If it is going down, I tend to skip the armpit check with a digital thermometer. If it is going up, then I would battle it out with him to get a number that I could give to the call-in nurse.

Of course, your mileage may vary and you should probably check with a physician before doing the same.

The temporal scanner is just easier to do quick checks for me.

Anonymous said...

We've had excellent results with the Exergen. At the beginning we double-checked it with a rectal temp--yes, we're just that nerdy--and it was accurate. It's a lot more accurate than an ear thermometer, too.