Thermal Camera Imaging Brought to Your Daily Life, See Things Like Never Before
This is something interesting, though a bit old, yet you might still have missed it – a music video shot entirely with a thermal camera shot last year. The music video of the song My Love by Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne was shot entirely using a FLIR SC8200 – a science-grade thermal imaging camera and the result is great. You can watch the video embedded above and you will most likely be impressed by the level of detail and clarity of the thermal images produced by this thermal imaging camera. Well this is what you can get with a really high-end thermal camera, but be aware that the price range of devices like the FLIR camera used here is way above what a normal person can afford to buy just for fun. If you are interested in a bit more information about the shooting of the video and the use of the thermal camera you can find some extra information here.
SparkFun has made available a new interesting development kit that allows you to get your hands on a FLIR Lepton thermal imaging sensor along with a breakout board specially developed for it in a single package that you can order. There are alternative ways in which you can get the Lepton thermal sensor such as a group buy or by purchasing a complete FLIR ONE Thermal Imaging Accessory for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S and disassembling it to take out the sensor from it. But you also need to get the breakout board fr the sensor developed by Pure Engineering as well.
The FLiR Dev Kit offered by SparkFun has the breakout board as well as a the Lepton longwave infrared (LWIR) imager and is available for $349.95 USD, making it easy to get everything you need to start developing your own thermal imaging projects with an Arduino, Raspberry Pi or an ARM based development tool. Note that sourcing the sensor separately and the breakout board as well you could end up with a slightly lower cost, but it could take more time or efforts to get your hands on the hardware, so the SparkFun kit can be an interesting alternative if they have it in stock.
Last year a workaround that included the modification of the software of the FLIR E4 entry level thermal camera has been discovered that allowed the users to get higher resolution and additional functionality available only in the top model of the series – the FLIR E8. It seems that the thermal imaging sensor used in the whole series was the same higher resolution one and it has been locked to lower resolution for the cheaper models from the series and the additional software features available in the higher-end models as well. FLIR has quickly addressed the “issue” by updating the firmware and selling new cameras with newer firmware version that did not allow the easy modification from users, but it seems that it might still be possible to unlock at least the resolution on E4 cameras with newer firmware. Meanwhile the “hack” was also extended to cover other models from the FLIR thermal camera range such as the FLIR i3/i5 that can be modified to i7 in terms of functionality or FLIR E30 to E60. If you are interested you can check the pretty long discussion with information and modification guides available on the EEVblog, but be warned that the process may not be easy for the average user as it involves some tinkering with the device and its software. If you are not sure you will be able to do it, then you better not even try as you may end up with unusable thermal camera that cannot be repaired under warranty, so be careful!