Ever wonder if there’s something hiding in the bushes at night or if your door seals are leaking heat in the winter? A thermal imaging camera is one way of answering these questions, but they tend to be bulky and very pricey. California-based Seek Thermal is aiming to bring thermal imaging into the consumer realm with its small, relatively affordable thermal camera smartphone accessory.

Compatible with iOS and Android phones, the Seek Thermal is a 0.5 oz (14 gm) camera in a magnesium case, which attaches to the USB dock on a smartphone. Inside is a bespoke 206 x 156 array vanadium oxide microbolometer with a chalcogenide lens providing a 36º field of view. According to the company, Seek Thermal operates in the 7.2 to 13 micron long-wave infrared range and can detect heat in a temperature range from -40º C to 330º C (-40º F to 626º F).

The Seek Thermal works in conjunction with an app that allows the user to switch between normal and thermal imaging mode with a swipe. It offers four different temperature measurement modes, can automatically highlight objects in an image within a predefined temperature range, and has a choice of nine different color palettes.

Unlike night vision systems, the camera operates by turning heat signatures into visible images rather than enhancing low-light conditions. Seek Thermal sees a number of applications for the camera such as improving security by detecting people and animals in the dark; helping around the house by locating leaky doors and windows, poor insulation, wall studs, and pipes; and enhancing recreation by seeing game at night or objects on the water in the dark while boating. It can even help at the bbq by making sure that the charcoal bed is heating evenly or checking the surface temperature of food.

The company plans to release a developer’s kit next year to allow third parties to create apps for the Seek Thermal. The camera is now available for US$199.

The video below introduces the Seek Thermal.

Product page: Seek Thermal

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