The day has finally come where thermal cameras have become affordable for the average consumer. Granted, these solutions aren't standalone devices, but rather add-ons to modern smartphones.
Today I get to look at one of the most affordable thermal cameras from Seek Thermal, which uses long-wave infrared (LWIR) to capture surface radiation and display it as an image. Thermal cameras are important in a wide range of industries; from home building (finding insulating leaks) to the military (identifying subjects without visible light).
While I am in neither of the aforementioned industries, I am in the business of analyzing and reviewing computer hardware. In the engineering field, thermals are very important in finding circuit weaknesses and even shorts. This new generation of affordable thermal cameras will allow me to fully objectively analyze circuits in a way I wasn't able to do before.
There is also an iPhone version of the Seek Thermal Camera, the only difference being the connector. The resolution of the Seek Thermal Camera is very high compared to even more expensive options. It uses a Vanadium Oxide(VOx) microbolometer, first researched by the military for use in sights, is a good contender for uncooled thermal imaging. Seek's large temperature detection range of -40C to 330C is also impressive.
I should note that many devices are not compatible with this camera. The Seek Thermal Camera depends on power from your phone's battery. Some Android phones like the Samsung S4 Mini don't support powering devices over their microUSB port, and thus cannot support this camera. So, make sure to check if your mobile device is supported first.
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