Tech Trends: Thermal Imagers Feeling the Shrink

Nearly everything about infrared is decreasing — including size and, most importantly, cost

RH Workshop ( has developed an open-source hardware device known as IR Blue, an accessory for Android and Apple IOS devices that uses a non-contact InfraRed sensor array by Melexis to superimpose a thermal signature over what’s being viewed on the phone’s camera. At 64 pixels and ~250 mK NETD, this is a far different animal than what I’ve described earlier; however, these devices open up a potential new set of sensing possibilities, raise awareness and, perhaps most importantly, put low-power thermal imaging into the hands of gadgeteers and tinkerers around the world to conceive new interesting applications. At some point, we should expect to reach a tipping point where devices exhibit the right combination of performance and cost to be widely deployed.

Current mainstream applications include thermal views for control and PSIM systems, intrusion sensing, cargo security, passenger screening, counter-terrorism operations, rescue applications as well as enhanced video analytics and recording. With thermal technology continuing to evolve, we’ll undoubtedly see more.


Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of and; and Principal Consultant for Gilwell Technology Services. Ray can be reached at, through LinkedIn at or followed on Twitter @RayCoulombe. To request more info about FLIR, please visit