Tech Trends: Thermal Imagers: Shrink Wrapped

Thermal imaging is based on heat sensing from a surveillance target

Speaking of getting there, passive IR technology is becoming available for the masses, as we are beginning to see in various blog pages and early-stage company offerings. MikroSens ( has developed a QCIF (160x120) infrared sensor with NETD <280 mK and USB output. M Optics ( started in January with plans to sell a similar imaging device. RH Workshop ( has developed an open source hardware device known as IR Blue, an accessory for Android and Apple IOS devices. It 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. Current main stream 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 no doubt 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.