Miniature Thermal Imaging Cameras and Their Applications

Over the last ten years, there has been a surge in both the application and in the general awareness of thermal imaging technology. In the past, thermal imaging was a highly costly technology, used only by the military.

Now, this technology and its many advantages are being uncovered by more and more users. With the help of thermal imaging, cameras can take clear images in diverse weather conditions, as well as during light fog or smoke, or even on a dark night.

Public awareness of thermal imaging cameras and what they can achieve is increasing thanks to exposure on television shows such as “Rescue 911” and other reality shows highlighting the activities of police officers, firefighters and other rescue workers.

As many of us have witnessed on television, thermal imaging allows police to find and track suspects, even in complete darkness.

On top of this, interest in thermal imaging for security uses has also risen. There are applications in everything from truck and shipping container inspections and long-range surveillance at border crossings, to the observation of high-security installations, such as airports, dams and nuclear power stations.

However, there is more to thermal imaging than simply a night vision solution to aid with security.

Thermal Imaging: A Technology that Saves Lives

While thermal imaging has a multitude of applications, the most crucial are those which aid in saving lives. This includes tracking suspects in complete darkness, finding victims in a fire or assisting drivers and captains in nighttime navigation.

There is a strong possibility that in the future, a personal thermal imaging camera in a small, battery-powered package will be an essential piece of equipment for every firefighter, police officer, rescue worker or security guard.

Consumers are also beginning to access thermal imaging technology. Night vision modules for better driver vision are the latest improvement added by car manufacturers in the hope of avoiding accidents by improving drivers’ ability to see at night.

There are also a number of maritime applications for thermal imaging cameras on boats and yachts, including both nighttime navigation and man overboard searches, amongst others.

As global demand has increased, the manufacturers’ cost of production for these cameras has begun to drop. This drop in costs, combined with increased interest in the technology, means that growing numbers of manufacturers over a broad range of product areas are waking up to the added value of thermal imaging, and are motivated to integrate the technology into their products.

As the thermal imager often constitutes just a minor part of the whole product, it must be compact, lightweight and as low in cost as possible.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by FLIR.

For more information on this source, please visit FLIR.


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