Automatic vs manual Thermography analysis
Infrared thermography allows us to work with two different methods: qualitative (observing the colours of the thermal image) and quantitative (processing the thermograms and extracting the thermal data to analyze thermal metrics from regions of interest).
The two main problems that face professionals using infrared thermography when analysing their thermal images are: firstly, the time used processing thermal images; and secondly, the reliability of their results (the degree to which the measurement gives the same result in repeated measurements, with the same or a different observer).
Most researchers work with manual analysis, that is to say: they delimit manually the regions of interest (i.e. right knee, left knee, right ankle, etc.). ThermoHuman is a software designed by researchers to solve the problem of time spent on this duty and improve the reliability when using thermography in humans (because most of manual analysis have poor reliability results -between 0,4 and 0,9 ICC (Fernández-Cuevas et al 2016).
A recent paper (Requena-Bueno et al. 2020) has analyzed the differences between processing the same 120 feet thermal images manually or with ThermoHuman automatic software, resulting in an 86% time reduction compared with manual delimitation. In addition to that, ThermoHuman analysis got excellent ICC reliability results, better than manual procedure.
- Fernández-Cuevas, I., Marins, J. C., Arnáiz Lastras, J., Gómez Carmona, P., & Sillero Quintana, M. (2016). Validity, Reliability, and Reproducibility of Skin Temperature in Healthy Subjects Using Infrared Thermography. In P. Humbert, H. Maibach, F. Fanian & P. Agache (Eds.), Agache’s Measuring the Skin (pp. 1311-1318). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
- Requena-Bueno, L. Priego-Quesada J.I., Jimenez-Perez I., Gil-Calvo M. & Perez-Soriano P. (2020) Validation of ThermoHuman automatic thermographic software for assessing foot temperature before and after running. Journal of Thermal Biology. In press