Posts Tagged ‘thermal camera

mu-optics-thermal-imager

The Mu Optics Thermal Imager was a project for an affordable thermal camera with the resolution and software capabilities to make it useful to normal people is the form of a smartphone accessory. The project was launched and successfully funded at the end of March 2013, however the development was just recently cancelled by the people behind the project. Back when the project was announced the specs of the device looked pretty nice for an affordable thermal imaging accessory for smartphones or tablets as in 2013 the market was not attacked by many similar devices like it is now. The Mu Optics thermal camera accessory was supposed to come with a 160×120 pixels thermal imaging sensor, be able to detect temperatures in the range of -66 to 90 degrees Celsius, supporting Android and iOS mobile devices and come with a price tag of $325 USD.

mu-optics-thermal-imager-specs

Last year these specs looked really good, but now there are already a few products available on the market with similar specifications or even better and with similar price or lower. The cancellation of the project was announced citing precisely the competition that is already available on the market, though we would’ve still liked to the the Mu Optics thermal camera available. Even if it was only available to backers of the crowdfunding campaign that the project had last year and it got funded by almost 2000 people with many more showing interest in the product after that. Anyway, it was a bit of disappointment to see the project getting cancelled as it was apparently already close to the final product being ready for production. Do note that the official website of Mu Optics does not have a mention about the project getting cancelled, the information was published on their IndieGoGo project campaign website only!

flir-one-thermal-imaging-accessory

FLIR is one of the most popular names of a company that is into the business with thermal imagers, although up until recently they were focused more on the professional side of things. Lately however the company is also seeing the big market potential that affordable consumer level thermal cameras in the form of accessories for mobile devices open up. The result is the FLIR ONE thermal imaging accessory designed especially for owners of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S smartphones. We are talking about thermal imaging accessory and not just for a thermal camera as the FLIR ONE comes with two cameras, one for visual light and one for thermography. FLIR has decided not to go using the built-in visual light camera into the iPhone 5/5S which is much better than the one they have included, but maybe their choice was based on design limitation or who knows. You should be aware of the fact that FLIR ONE comes in the form of a case for the iPhone 5/5S using the Apple Lightning interface and is not compatible with other iOS-based devices. While this design idea is fine if you own an iPhone 5 or 5S, but Apple has already released iPhone 6, so if you want to be able to continue using the FLIR ONE you would need to have a spare iPhone 5 or 5S even if you go and buy the new iPhone model.

We have already mentioned the fact that FLIR ONE comes with two cameras, one for visible light images and one thermal camera. FLIR uses the image data from both devices blending both images using MSX Technology and thus providing physical detail to the raw thermal reading. Normally thermal images do not reveal a lot of detail of the physical objects that you are checking as they contain thermal information, but when you take a visible light image as well and take the outlines of objects from it and blend that data with the thermal image the results are great. Even with lower resolution thermal image this method makes it possible to get a much better looking thermal images that are easier to read and understand, especially from people that are not too experienced with thermal imaging.

flir-one-thermal-image-samples

The FLIR ONE thermal imaging accessory is based on the small and affordable Lepton micro thermal imager. This small sensor is what makes possible to have a lower resolution FLIR thermal cameras available at very affordable prices. Even though the available 80×60 pixels thermal array from the Lepton sensor is not too much it is still quite useable, especially when you blend the thermal image with a visual one to provide more visual details to the user. It is interesting to note that when displaying real-time images or recording video, FLIR ONE employs an image enhancement that produces a 160×120 thermal image according to the manufacturer of the device.

FLIR ONE thermal imaging accessory specifications:
– Scene range temperature: 0°C to 100°C (32°F to 212°F)
– Weight: 3.9 ounces, 110 grams
– Dimensions: 140 x 61 x 22 mm (L x W x H)
– Battery capacity: 1400 mA/h (maximum thermal imager battery life is approximately four hours continuous use. FLIR ONE does not consume power from the iPhone battery, nor does it charge the iPhone battery)
– Core: FLIR Lepton thermal camera core (80×60 pixels)
– Visible camera: 640×480 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 and 1A wall charger (charges FLIR ONE only)
– iPhone compatibility: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S running iOS 7 or above

The FLIR ONE accessory for iPhone 5/5S is available at a price of $349.99 USD and we have already ordered one to use as a part fo our testing equipment, so soon you will be able to see actual thermal images as well as read our personal feedback from using the device. The only thing that we are not overly happy in the specifications of the device is the temperature range that it operates in, it would’ve been much better if it was a little bit wider than what it is. Other than that we hope to be satisfied with what FLIR ONE will provide us with in terms of resulting thermal images, though we are also looking at other alternatives as well as FLIR is already facing a bit of competition in the field of affordable consumer oriented thermal cameras. There are alternatives that are supposed to offer better specifications at least on paper, but FLIR has the advantage of years of expertise in thermal imaging.

For more information about the FLIR ONE thermal imaging device for iPhone 5/5S…

seek-thermal-camera-accessory

The Seek thermal camera is another affordable accessory designed to bring thermal imaging to mobile devices such as smartphones. The Seek thermal camera has two versions – one of Android-based smartphones equipped with micro USB and a different one designed for Apple smartphones or other iOS-based devices that use the newer Apple Lightning connector. The device is already available and is shipping to customers, though for the moment only the Android version is on sale and shipped as apparently the Apple model needs to go through some more approval from Apple to be sold as an official accessory. You can already order the Android-based Seek thermal camera for $199 USD, though it is only being shipped to customers in USA and Canada for the moment.

Other than the difference in the interface and the device the two camera models offer essentially the same specifications and these are actually quite attractive for the price you are asked to pay for the thermal camera module.

Seek Thermal Camera Specifications:
– Android micro USB or Apple Lightning connector
– Vanadium Oxide Microbolometer
– Thermal sensor resolution: 206×156 Array
– 32136 Thermal Pixels
– 12µ Pixel Pitch
– Chalcogenide Lens
– 36º Field of View
– Magnesium Housing
– Long Wave Infrared 7.2 – 13 Microns
– Temperature range: -40C to 330C Detection
– < 9Hz rate

We are already waiting to see the release of the Apple model of the camera and the company to start shipping to Europe as well in order to be able to get one of these Seek Thermal Camera accessories to try it out. We have already mentioned that the price is really good for what specifications the device seems to offer and if the hardware is well matched with good software functionality, then this could be a great product to get and use as your first thermal camera.

For more information about the Seek Thermal Camera accessory…


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