Thermal Camera Imaging Brought to Your Daily Life, See Things Like Never Before
CAT phones has just announced its new flagship product, the Cat S60 dubbed the world’s first smartphone with an integrated thermal camera, and the world’s most waterproof smartphone. The Cat S60 includes an embedded thermal camera from FLIR, namely the Lepton Thermal Microcamera Module which is one of the smallest and most affordable thermal imaging sensors on the market, though it is also a bit limited in terms of resolution and temperature range when compared to full fledged thermal cameras. Still the capabilities it offers are ideal for integration into multifunctional devices such as smartphones, allowing their users to get a more useful and functional portable device. The device will be unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2016, in Barcelona, taking place between February 22nd – 28th.
The embedded FLIR thermal camera in the Cat S60 allows the device to be easily used for things like detecting heat loss around windows and doors; spotting moisture and missing insulation; identifying over-heating electrical appliances and circuitry; and seeing in complete darkness. The thermal camera visualizes heat that is invisible to the naked eye, highlighting temperature contrasts. It can pick up heat and measure surface temperatures from a distance of up to 50 to 100 feet, and see through obscurants such as smoke, enabling a huge range of use cases for building professionals, utility workers, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and emergency first responders to name but a few.
The Cat S60 is also waterproof to depths of up to 5 meters for one hour, allowing it to be used as an underwater camera, pushing the boundaries of mobile technology, and how and where it’s used. The Cat S60 is also an extremely tough and robust, world class rugged smartphone. It exceeds military spec, is built to withstand drops onto concrete from up to 1.8 meters, and it’s dustproof as well as waterproof. Its versatile, super-bright display can be viewed in bright sunlight, and the touchscreen can be controlled with wet fingers or while wearing gloves. It is also protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
CAT S60 key features:
– Strengthened Die Cast Frame
– Drop proof to 1.8m, MIL Spec 810G
– Super bright display (typical 540 nits), Gorilla Glass 4
– 7″ HD capacitive multi-touch with auto wet finger & glove support
– Optimised battery performance (3800mAh)
– High quality audio experience (>105dB)
– Underwater 13MP main camera with dual flash, 5MP front-facing camera
– 4G LTE
– Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor
– 32GB ROM, 3GB RAM
– Android Marshmallow
– Dedicated FLIR thermal camera app with MSX technology; still image, panorama, and video capture; changeable heat palettes; temperature spot meter; and min, max, and average temperature data
It is not yet clear if the thermal imaging camera is based on the first lower resolution generation of FLIR Lepton thermal sensor or the newer higher resolution ones, but it seems that the output resolution is 640×480 pixels or with other words the thermal image will be interpolated as the actual resolution of the thermal imaging sensor is lower (80×60 or 160×120). The Cat S60 will be available later this year at a recommended price of €649 Euro and $599 USD depending on the region.
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.
Another interesting project from the same guys that brought the Lepton breakout board – Pure Engineering is the Lepton Demo Camera that can turn a FLIR Lepton thermal imaging sensor into a portable thermal camera. The project is basically a for the internals of a tiny digital camera that can take thermal photos onto a microSD card and view a live feed from the thermal sensor on the LCD screen. The FLIR Lepton Demo Camera kit comes without the Lepton thermal sensor, you need to source that separately. The camera kit is available from GroupGet at a price of $150 USD and minimum order quantity is 25 units – meaning that 25 people are needed to fulfill the group get too be successful. It is definitely an interesting project that will allow you to have a really portable battery-powered thermal imaging camera based on the FLIR Lepton thermal imager.