Wondering what others think of Flir's infrared thermal imaging camera that fits on the back of an iPhone, and supposedly later this year, on Android phones. I believe the price is around $350.
I plan to buy one as soon as they come out with the Android version.
It's great to see tools like this becoming more accessible. There's a startup called Mu Optics that has been developing something very similar for a couple of years now. Glad to see FLIR hasn't been idle; it'll be interesting to see how both products compare.
It will be interesting to see how society reacts this time to the wide spread use of infrared cameras. Last time it forced an entire industry to modify all standard cameras in such a way as to not be able to remove the IR filters. An IR camera used inappropriately can produce some embarrassing images. Add to that, that today's internet will share those pictures with millions in the blink of an eye and I see real problems ahead. Of course FLIR and other mfgs are well aware of this so apparently they don't see it as a problem.
How are they going to protect peoples privacy, ie, whatever is under their clothing, foil underwear? Sorry, I couldn't resist that.
But your underlying point, Bud, is a valid one. Since this is, for all intents and purposes, a cheap thermal imager, how many clowns will buy one with no training whatsoever (not even taking the time to do free webinars)? How many will make recommendations based on that? How many will miss major water issues because they only know/think to use them to identify insulation gaps? That's where this could move from a clever to risky tool.
How many time have we heard a home owner speak poorly about the energy audit they recently had, only to discover upon further questioning that it was far from a real audit. From that faux audit that home owner will tell everyone who will listen that an audit is a waste of time.
Now, toss in the low cost thermal cameras and why pay for an IR inspection when your neighbor can do one for free.
From our perspective we need to recognize the effects these cameras will have on what we offer and work around them. I personally don't see ever giving up my camera as an energy audit tool, in fact I'm more likely to take the level II training. If we emphasize the features of our cameras that the low cost units cannot match, when combined with our training and experience we should still be able to justify a price for our work.
But energy auditing, like many other professions, will be constantly changing with the tidal wave of technology. To give it the old New England twist, "you ain't seen nothing yet." Think, a box in every home that monitors everything. Not that far away.
You can still modify standard cameras to operate in the near infrared range. I have several. They are not useful for producing the embarrassing images as suggested. Those devices were night vision movie camera's and they are still available.
Cheap short wavelength (near visible light) camera's are easily available with the ability to stream on the internet. They are found as security camera's.
A thermography camera is long wavelength IR, not the short wavelength IR. Resolution is not something that would worry most. Now days a trip through the TSA scanners has revealed far more detail than the FLIR low end iphone camera.
Infrared photography has been around for nearly 100 years.
People survived.... the privacy issues have been brought up with the combination of cellphones and the inboard camera. Perhaps that combination should be banned... or perhaps ban cellphones...
Amazing application for iPhone and Android smartphones. Flir is a great company specializing in thermal imaging, night vision, infrared camera and optical innovations.
Is this product fit a particular android phone or universal fit any android phone?
There is already an android IR attachment - http://www.instructables.com/id/EHQJMVEH6DWPRGU/?lang=en, not quite as sophisticated as the Flir One - no on-board temps, but cheaper ...
Agreed with the earlier comments about 'just anyone' using these - especially since RESNET and others have quite strict requirements on IR use. Let alone all those IR ads of inspecting electrical equipment, boilers, etc.,w/o the proper equipment.
The resolution and sensitivity of the kickstarter version -- makes it mostly a novelty. Mu Optics is now nearly seven months behind their original estimated delivery schedule, I'm guessing they will finally deliver a year after their original estimate (if they do... and I commited for one of their devices...)
FLIR is well funded and more likely to meet the their estimated target date. But the resolution and sensitivity is likely to still be well below their current entry level thermal imaging cameras. Their current low end camera does not meet the RESNET or BPI minimum recommend/required specs.
Will it cut into the building auditing business? Perhaps... but remember how many people out there even use the available simple things like a smoke pen... or a $40 point and trigger IR thermometer. I've suggested those to a number of different people with I've had conversations about how to weatherize their homes... and generally they don't spend the money. Instead they buy lots of caulk and sometimes replace the old fiberglass insulation with newer fiberglass insulation... :-(
The value of a RESNET, BPI, and other certified professionals - comes in the both the detailed, understandable audit AND an appropriate affordable action plan that will produce results.
Decentralization sometimes has some pitfalls. Now that "everybody" might be able to afford an IR set up on their mobile phone, there may be a lot more "experts" out there dispensing information that may not be quite right. Just because you can afford the technology, does not mean you have the experience or capability to properly interpret the images. Caveat emptor all over again.
Good point. The low cost iPhone cameras are also opportunities for teaching moments. It is easy to construct cases in which the user or the camera might produce "incorrect" results because the operator wasn't looking for reflections or doesn't understand the limitations.