Thermal Camera Imaging Brought to Your Daily Life, See Things Like Never Before
Quadcopters, Hexacopters and even Octocopters are the new craze nowadays or in short radio controlled drones as they are getting smarter and easier to pilot. The interesting thing is that for many people it is not about the flying, but the aerial photo and video recording why they are buying these gadgets. If it is for filming or video monitoring then you might be able to replace the standard video camera with a thermal camera and enhance the capabilities of the drone, but the problem is that most thermal imagers are either too big for a quadcopter or too expensive to even consider. The good news is that there is already a compact and affordable solution to add thermal imaging capabilities to your drone. The project is called DroneThermal by Flytron and is a micro thermal camera based on FLIR’s Lepton core – an 80×60 thermal imaging sensor.
DroneThermal is the first micro size and low cost thermal camera for small UAVs and surveillance drones that offers direct analog (PAL/NTSC) output, so you can easily attach it to a standard analog video transmitter. If you add a second video transmitter or a multi channel video switcher to your drone you will be able to have both normal video and thermal image available from your drone transmitted to you on the ground. Although we said affordable, you should be aware that the DroneThermal module with the thermal imager is not that cheap with a price of a bit less than $500 USD, but that is much less than other thermal imaging solutions suitable for drone use.
FLIR has announced a new second generation of their Flir One thermal imaging accessory for smartphones and tablets, making it useable on wider range of devices and adding a version for Android OS as well. Originally the FLIR ONE was compatible with iPhone 5 and 5S only as it was made specifically to fit the form and size of these devices, but the new version comes in totally device independent design. The new FLIR ONE utilizes either a micro-USB connector for Android devices or a Lightning connector for iOS devices to offer a compact accessory that easily connects to a smartphone or tablet. The FLIR ONE is powered by an internal battery and utilizes FLIR’s latest generation Lepton thermal camera core, which features four times the resolution of the previous version. Images are further enhanced with FLIR’s patented multi-spectral dynamic imaging (MSX) technology, which embosses the edge details from FLIR ONE’s visible camera onto the thermal image producing high fidelity images.
Specifications of the new FLIR ONE:
– Scene temperature range: -4°F to 248°F (-20° to 120°C)
– Operating temperature: 32°F to 95°F (0°C to 35°C)
– Weight: 2.75 ounces, 32 grams
– Dimensions: L 2.8 inches (72mm) x W 1 inch (26mm) x H 0.7 inches (18mm)
– Battery capacity: 350 mA/h. FLIR ONE neither consumes power from the connected device battery, nor charges it. When inactive, FLIR automatically switches to low-power mode to maximize its battery life.
– Visible camera: VGA (used for FLIR MSX blending)
– Sensitivity: ability to detect temperature differences as small as 0.18° F (0.1° C)
– Charging method: micro-USB (Android) and lightning connector (Apple) paired with 1A wall charger
– Device compatibility: Android products containing a micro-USB and Apple products containing a lightning connector, including iPhone 6 and 6 plus, among others.
– Included accessory: charging cable (either micro-USB or lightning connector)
– Certifications and standards: Mfi (iOS Only) FCC, CE, RoHS, CAN ICES-3 (B)/NMB-3(B), UL
There are several areas where the new FLIR ONE is better than the first model. You apparently get a more powerful thermal sensor with four times the resolution for crisper and clearer thermal images (160×120 up from 80×60 of the old Lepton sensor). It also features automatic tuning, so there is no need to manually tune the device for optimum temperature detection. There is a new lighter-weight design that is less than a third the weight of the original. Also the temperature range has been increased with another 40 degrees, including support for minus temperatures that can be quite useful at times.
The second generation FLIR ONE comes with with an MSRP of $249.99 USD and should be available worldwide starting July for iOS devices, with the Android-compatible version to available in July. The first generation FLIR ONE for Apple’s iPhone 5/5s platform is now available at a reduced price of $149.99 USD down from the original price of $349.99 USD when it was launched last year.
Seek Thermal has released the Seek XR, an extended range version of its thermal camera accessory designed to be used with Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones or tablets. The new extra range model is created with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, allowing people to literally see heat, making it possible to spot people and animals in total darkness. For hunters, the Seek XR can be used in daylight, the dark, or in obscured visibility conditions. It’s useful for scouting, blood trailing, hunting game, and much more. The new Seek XR has a manual focus lens for viewing objects at close range, or at distances of up to 2,000 feet or around 610 meters.
Specification wise the next Seek Thermal XR is identical to the standard version of the thermal imaging accessory, the only difference being the lens used on the two models. The long range XR version comes with a manually adjustable focusing lens and a reduced field of view of 20 degrees as opposed to the fixed focus lens and the 36 degree FOV of the standard Seek Thermal version. According to the manufacturer the XR model is ideal for Hunters, Boaters, Campers, Electrical Engineers and anyone looking for increased home security can detect intruders from nearly up to about 2 thousand feet away. As with the original Seek Thermal accessory the new XR model is available in a version designed for iOS as well as for Android with a price of $299 USD as opposed the $50 USD cheaper standard model that is available for $249 USD.