In this article from July, my colleague Andy Wilson discussed the growing use of tablets and smartphones as rudimentary imaging systems which leverage the processing power and user interface as an exponentially lower-cost alternative to traditional imaging systems.
In the article, he mentions the iPhone specifically, stating that many folks are using the device’s Bluetooth wireless interface to turn the iPhone into microscopes, otoscopes, bar-code readers, and IR imagers. With the FLIR ONE, however, users can turn their iPhone into an infrared imaging camera by putting it into a specially-designed protective case.
FLIR ONE can capture temperatures from 32°F to 212°F (0°C to 100°C), features an operating temperature range of 32°F to 113°F (0°C to 45°C), and has a FLIR Lepton thermal camera core. It connects to the iPhone via the USB device and has an accompanying iOS app, FLIR ONE MX.
FLIR, which touts its new product as the first personal thermal imaging device targeted at the consumer market, unveiled the device at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014. Owners of an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s can simply slide their phone into the $350 FLIR ONE, which resembles an ordinary phone case, to turn their phone into a thermal imaging camera. It suggests that users can utilize the camera for creative photography, home improvement applications (this could be big for those looking to winterize their homes or find leaks), and for thermal scavenger hunts or other games. (And perhaps, hunting, for those who are interested)
Its applications wouldn’t end there though, obviously, as the phone could also be used for security and surveillance and/or home safety applications. If you hear a noise at night, instead of peeking around the corner or going downstairs to see what it might have been (probably just the dog), you could simply point your FLIR ONE in the direction of the noise to see what might be there.
Combining such a low price point with the familiar technology of the iPhone, thermal imaging devices could potentially start to find their way into more and more households.
What do you think? Could the FLIR ONE thermal imaging device penetrate into the consumer market?