How cheap have thermal imaging devices become? Once only available to specialised skilled industry professionals for around three grand, but now anyone can take thermal videos of cats for under $200.
Like Flir before them, Seek Thermal have announced the Seek thermal camera, a pocketsize device that plugs into smartphones and puts the amazing power of thermal imaging into the hands of consumers. The Seek thermal camera allows people to literally see heat, making it possible to see energy loss and water leaks in homes, clogs in pipes, and people and pets in the total darkness.
The Seek camera is available for both iOS and Android devices and can be ordered for $199 today at www.thermal.com, and will be available at Amazon.com and major national retail stores later this fall.
“Seek’s breakthrough technology lets people see heat for the first time, something that only government agencies and companies could afford in the past,” said Seek Thermal CEO, Robert Acker. “The Seek camera not only gives average consumers the capabilities in home improvement and safety and security that only professionals used to have, but we are also especially excited about the hundreds of new use cases for thermal that our camera will enable.”
Thermal imaging converts heat energy into an image that can be seen with the human eye. Traditionally, multi-thousand dollar thermal cameras have been used by firefighters, law enforcement and the military to see through smoke or in complete darkness. Seek Thermal has pioneered the next generation of thermal imaging technology sized and priced for the everyday consumer. Common ways to use thermal imaging include:
Safety and Security: Scan a dark parking lot before heading to your car; scan the yard before investigating strange noises.
Home Improvement: Identify leaky windows and doors, insufficient insulation, and other sources of energy loss; trace water damage up a wall or across a ceiling to its source; and identify the location of clogs in pipes.
Pet Owners: Scan the yard for predators before letting your dog out at night; find your dog or cat in the dark.
Cooking: Measure the heat distribution across your BBQ or griddle; instantly measure the surface temperature of food; detect the propane level in your tank.
Boating: Detect and locate objects on the water at night.
The Seek camera is a small device that plugs into the microUSB connector on Android devices and the LightningTM connector on iOS devices. A durable magnesium housing protects a next-generation thermal sensor and custom chalcogenide lens. It weighs only 0.5 ounces and creates true thermal images with a resolution of 206 x 156, or over 32,000 thermal pixels. Prior to today this kind of resolution was only available in cameras costing $3,000 and up.
The Seek camera works with a free app that will be available in the Apple App store and on Google Play. The app makes it easy for people to get started with thermal imaging, while also including a range of controls substantial enough for people who use the camera for serious work. App features include:
Take and share thermal photos and videos.
Select from four different temperature measurement modes including the ability to automatically highlight everything in the scene that is above or below a specified temperature.
Select from nine different color palettes. Technically called “LUTs,” they are different color ranges that can be applied to temperature measurements.
Swipe seamlessly back and forth between a regular and a thermal image in Thermal+ mode.
Early in 2015 Seek Thermal will release an SDK so third party developers can create their own specialized apps that take advantage of the company’s cameras.