$199 Thermal-imaging camera

Discussion in 'Hardware Reviews and News' started by Extraordinary, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Extraordinary

    Extraordinary Ancient Guru

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    Hands-On With The $199 Seek Thermal Smartphone Infrared Camera (Yes, Really Actually): This Is Amazing

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    When a company's pitch to you is that their smartphone accessory was developed in cooperation with Raytheon, you're likely to listen. When that company then tells you they've built the world's first truly affordable thermal (infrared) camera and that it also attaches directly to your smartphone, you listen closely.

    No, this isn't a gimmick, a trick, or some kind of workaround using widely-available technology to emulate thermal imaging. Seek Thermal is a real thermal imaging device that you can attach to your smartphone's microUSB port (Galaxy S4, S5, and Moto X / Moto G currently supported officially) and feed live video from the IR camera to the display.

    One of the big problems with entry-level thermal imaging products has generally been, over the years, resolution. A handheld thermal imaging system with 80x60 (yes, 80 pixels by 60 pixels) resolution from a reputable manufacturer like FLIR will set you back $1000. Seek Thermal's sensor has a resolution of 206x156, but costs only a fifth as much. (A FLIR with even 160x120 resolution costs around $2500, by the way.) Like most IR cameras, the Seek's field of view is also extremely narrow, at just 38 degrees.

    Now, it's true that these very expensive professional-grade systems do have some advantages over the Seek. More temperature accuracy at extremes (the Seek isn't particularly accurate for temperatures over 90 Celsius, but it is sensitive from -40C to 330C, and Seek claims they're working on this), built-in visible-light cameras, extreme ruggedness, and bundled software suites designed to analyze images taken from the devices.

    Seek, though, doesn't really need a resume of its own as long as it works like it says on the box, and so far, I'm totally convinced. Now, there are some caveats - still images captured from Seek look like butt, especially if they're of a relatively complex scene.



    More and Source:
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2014/0...d-camera-yes-really-actually-this-is-amazing/
     
  2. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    Hehe funny gadget. But for professional purposes I think it'll not be precise enough, and for a toy, it's a bit expensive at 199$
     
  3. jbmcmillan

    jbmcmillan Ancient Guru

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    Not that expensive people spend over 1000 bucks on video cards.
     
  4. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    These days, yes.
     

  5. edma3d

    edma3d Member

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    I feel guilty :)
     
  6. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    80 pixels by 60 pixels wow .. well you might feel it is expensive, but the thermal camera I am using for the reviews did cost nearly 5K !
     
  7. Matt26LFC

    Matt26LFC Ancient Guru

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    I think he means its expensive as a novelty item, because anyone doing real work that requires a Thermal Imagining Camera won't be buying this and would be buying something more like what you've got H
     
  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Price has gone up 25% already.

    Aaah, the newb necrod a dead 2 yr old thread.
    Bosses, he needs a once over!
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  9. Extraordinary

    Extraordinary Ancient Guru

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    Was gonna say, I posted this in 2014 :D
     
  10. XenthorX

    XenthorX Ancient Guru

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    Even HH fall for it :nerd: giving it some 2017 love
     

  11. WarthogARJ

    WarthogARJ New Member

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    Actually, if you are following the development of un-cooled micro-bolometers, as they are defined, there hasn't actually been that much progress since when this was first posted, in terms of what's available at the low end.

    Even the price is about the same.

    In terms of price vs resolution, you have roughly three options:
    (1) Low res, very low price: 32 x 24 pixels Melexis sensor DIY ($50) plus screen etc (Arduino, Raspberry, Bangood etc): Total cost $100
    (2) Smartphone based moderate res, moderate price: 160 x 120 pixels with complete camera, fixed lens: $350
    (3) High res, VERY high price: 464 x 348. res (or a bit higher), complete camera, fixed lens, or choice lens, zoom: Price $8k-$12k

    Depending on how carefully you use them, neither (1) or (2) are toys per se, you just need to understand the resolution and corresponding limitations, and how to use it.

    And for what application.
    The low res ones are not very good for longer distance work, but for electronics they are OK.
    The exception is for automotive sensors that detect humans or animals, but they don't need any great accuracy or resoltion to give a warning of a large warm object at 40 C, against a much colder background.

    You can buy both sensors on their own (Digikey etc) for (1) and (2), but i've not seen them sold separately for (3).
    The actual sensor for (3) is not expensive, but it seems the makers are only selling as a complete camera unit.

    I think in another year or so, that should change, as a few more foundries start to make them.
    And then you could make Variant (3) for <$500, as long as you're not expecting a fancy lens.

    The issue is that the sensor pixel size is constrained by the wavelength of the light you are measuring, a long wavelength means the pixel size must be larger than that used for visible light.
    Which means a bigger sensor overall for the same resolution, and thus more expensive, and a bigger lens is needed too.
    And the lens for IR is quite expensive too.
    Also for ambient to 70 deg C or so, the energy contained in the light is very low, meaning it's hard to get a good signal to noise ratio, so you need good firmware to process it all.
    At over 100 C, it's not such an issue.

    So this means the companies making the newer high res sensors want to try to squeeze as much return out of their R&D costs by selling entire camera units, rather than selling the sensor on its own.
     

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