Imagine a situation where it would be important to find an intruder at night and Night Vision IR (Infrared) just won’t cut it. This is where Thermal Imaging will come into play. A Thermal Imaging camera picks up heat signatures of objects and thus no object or person can hide from its detection. This happened recently to find and detect the Boston Bomber.
In April of 2013, The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing, equipped with FLIR Thermal Imaging Cameras, were able to find the suspect’s heat signature inside of a boat in dry dock after being tipped off by a witness that saw blood on the boat.
Thermal Imaging Cameras work by picking up the heat signatures of humans, animals and most objects that they emit. Recorded images will show in grayscale with objects that are cold in black, objects that are hot in white, and variations between the two in gray. Some cameras will display in color.
Another situation that a Thermal Imaging Camera would be great to use would be in an area where there should be no night activity like a row of stores. A Thermal Imaging Camera will register the heat signatures of all the cars in the area. Most cars parked overnight will register black (cold), but if a car pulled up at 3am (for example), that car will have the hood registering (white). If any alarms go off in any of those stores that car would be a good suspect, and should be closely watched.
Thermal Imaging is very useful in the marine environment and military engagements as well. Imagine you are the watchful eye of a beach or dock that you had to alert the authorities of any suspicious activity. Normal security cameras can’t project distances at night without IR but the Thermal Imaging camera can. Even if the would-be assailants came in by raft, the heat signatures of the warm bodied humans will be picked up and you can even set an alarm trigger for the movement of those individuals. For those that have to monitor illegal aliens coming from another country that system would be very useful. Also, if the enemy was trying to sneak in (even by swimming), there is nowhere to hide from a Thermal Imaging Camera.
A little history of Thermal Imaging
Thermal Imaging Cameras first hit the scene for military uses. It was developed in 1958 by a Swedish company. The military fell in love with this technology because for the first time they were able to see a clear image in complete darkness with the ability to view and target enemy forces through total black of night. Thermal Imaging Cameras have the ability to see through smoke, rain, snow, fog and any other weather, making it perfect for military applications.
In 1965, Thermal Imaging hit the commercial market being used for power line inspecting. Portable cameras were introduced in 1973, but were very cumbersome and contained liquid nitrogen as a coolant for the infrared detector. Finally in 1997 a Thermal Imaging Camera was introduced to the market that did not have to contain liquid nitrogen and was therefore not susceptible to breakdowns. This new technology in the Thermal Imaging Camera is called a microbolometer.
According to FLIR, the company that created the technology says “A microbolometer is a specific type of bolometer used as a detector in a thermal camera. It is a tiny vanadium oxide or amorphous silicon resistor with a large temperature coefficient. On a silicon element with large surface area, low heat capacity and good thermal isolation. Infrared radiation from a specific range of wavelengths strikes the vanadium oxide and changes its electrical resistance. Changes in scene temperature cause changes in the bolometer temperature which are converted to electrical signals and processed into an image.”
The introduction of the microbolometer made the Thermal Imaging Camera a practical device in both military and commercial uses as the cost started coming down.
Additional uses for a Thermal Imaging Camera
Big manufacturing production companies use thermal imaging since these cameras can detect overheating before a machine will actually break down. They are great for research and development firms that create products because the testing of products such as a blender would show if there is any overheating in the unit after many uses.
Car Manufacturers are now taking advantage of thermal imaging to keep drivers safe. The Audi A8, for example, has implemented a thermal imaging camera to help drivers detect animals and people in the road that might not be visible with the naked eye. The monitor will show movement such as the orange slash in the picture above. That is a human crossing the road. You will also see a white area above that person and that is a transformer on a utility pole.
Where can I get a reasonably priced Thermal Imaging Camera?
I’m glad you asked. For only $4,000 (way below the cost that big companies pay) you can own your very own Thermal Imaging Camera. Think of all the uses that I discussed above and I am sure you could come up with a few of your own. Back alleyways, waterfronts, warehouses, parks, parking lots…anywhere where the lighting is not good at night, is a great place to have a Thermal Imaging Camera.
You will find a great Thermal Imaging Security Camera at SecurityCameraKing.com. The OB-Thermal is their custom made Thermal Imaging Camera made exclusively for them. Security Camera King took the technology from FLIR and installed it in a custom-manufactured weatherproof box camera housing. It views heat signatures as discussed above and if you use this camera, there will be no one that can escape detection. A great way to use this camera is in conjunction with a Pan Tilt Zoom Camera. You can set an alarm trigger on the Thermal Imaging Camera for when it detects a heat signature out of the ordinary and the alarm will trigger the PTZ to zoom to the infiltrator and record along with the thermal signature. You can read more or order one at http://www.securitycameraking.com/heat-imaging-indoor-outdoor-thermal-59119-prd1.html.