As opposed to regular invasive thermometers, there are non-invasive IR thermometers to measure the temperature. For example Thermofocus.

I read in many sources that these IR thermometers only measure the temperature of the object's surface. However, Thermofocus seems to measure the patient's core temperature*.

My question is how to convert someone's skin temperature to their core temperature (Thermofocus does it so I understand that it's possible). I need to use an IR thermometer to measure a patient's skin temperature (say forehead) and predict their core temperature.

*core temperature: I hope this is the correct phrase... I mean the inner temperature as measured with a regular invasive thermometer.


1 Answer 1


The measurement of core temperature (it is the right term*) is easy using an invasive method. It is also reliable since:

Core temperature is easy to measure and temperatures are relatively homogeneous throughout the trunk and head[PMCID: PMC1752199];

However, the measurement of skin temperature is highly dependent on the location of measurement and also ambient temperature, as explained here[DOI: 10.1039/C6EE00456C]: source:Designing thermoelectric generators for self-powered wearable electronics; DOI: 10.1039/C6EE00456C

Also, Xu et. al. concluded in "Relationship between core temperature, skin temperature, and heat flux during exercise in heat" that:

Algorithms for T_c measurement are location-specific and their accuracy is dependent, to a large degree, on sensor placement.

They also proposed two relationships for calculation of T_c based on T_s (Core temp. based on surface temp.) which is included in the paper (regarding copyright laws, I'm not allowed to put it here. you have the DOI and can look it up).

*Here is the list of few publications which are using "core temperature" to address the temperature inside the body:




Gender Role: In a study in University of North Texas Source it is concluded that men has different skin temperature, due to different methods of temperature regulation compared to women:

We found gender differences at four different skin temperature locations. These changes might suggest that men retain more metabolic heat in various locations on the back when exercising in a hot, humid environment compared to women.

Also This Work shows that, although the temperature distribution pattern among genders are similar, women have lower skin temperature.

This Masters Thesis from University of South Florida indicates findings in regards to clothing and metabolic conditions role on core temperature, i.e. no statistical difference between T_c of genders. Look at Figure 3 in page 23 for heart rate vs. metabolic rates. In page 24 there is a table for measurements for T_c.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you that's a good finding! In DOI: 10.1039/C6EE00456C, are the formulas based only on surface temperature? $\endgroup$
    – Alaa M.
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ Yes. They used the surface temperature measurements according to the manuscript. $\endgroup$
    – SoFar67
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 14:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AlaaM. I also found more work based on the conversion of surface temperature to core temperature. Updates include citations for those works. $\endgroup$
    – SoFar67
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 16:05
  • $\begingroup$ Looks good. I'll check them out. DOI: 10.1039/C6EE00456C is available only by purchase though, am I correct? $\endgroup$
    – Alaa M.
    Commented Mar 16, 2017 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ I have the document (DOI: 10.1039/C6EE00456C). At what page is the formula that converts skin to core temperature? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Alaa M.
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 9:05

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