Interactive Devices: Device of the Week – Oral Thermometer

For this week’s Device of the Week I will be talking about the humble oral thermometer.

This kind of thermometer is an oral thermometer used by schoolchildren. It should be familiar to everyone in this class.

The purpose is to act as an early warning system to detect if a person is ill.

The operation is very simple: you put it in your mouth, then press the button. When the device turns on, it reads the ambient temperature around the temperature sensor several times, then averages them to provide a body temperature reading. The resulting temperature can show whether or not the user is running a fever, and therefore whether or not the user is ill.


  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Inexpensive
  • Child-safe


  • Not very hygienic – requires cleaning
  • Easy to manipulate results

Alternate Uses

Because this is essentially a contact thermometer, it can be used for any general purpose that involves taking the temperature of something. For example:

  • Measuring the temperature of a liquid (e.g. in a scientific experiment)
  • Measuring the temperature of the atmosphere
  • Measuring the temperature of another electronic device (that requires heat sinks)

Some limitations of this device are that it is not designed for extreme conditions, or temperatures that deviate significantly from human body temperature. It could be repurposed by dismantling the thermometer display to hook up the readings to a display elsewhere (useful for applications where it is not feasible to be near the thermometer) or rebuilding the thermometer casing to be more durable and temperature-resistant.

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Chin Kee Yong

hello i play video games and also sometimes make video games

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