5 Ways to Use Your Cell Phone as a Thermal Camera


Cell phones are crucial gadgets which have become one of the mandatory requirements in our daily life. Cameras in the smartphones are used to capture the images by utilizing the light in the environment. This light in the environment is a necessary aspect for the camera to capture its image and so they are technically termed as visible light.

Without adequate light, the camera can store only shadows and dark images. Visible light makes our eye to see various colors which are the combinations of three basic colors namely red, blue and green at different rates. The smartphones have a series of thin plastic lenses which can concentrate the light on the screen with the charge coupled devices.

This CCD s on the screen converts the photons from the light to the electrons which are sent to the sensor kept inside an aperture. The number of CCDs determines the pixel count of the picture. While the light travels through a series of lenses it also has to travel through an IR filter which prevents the vision of the IR rays from the object.

A thermal image can be simply mentioned as a thermogram. Unlike ordinary images from a camera, thermal images are little different which does not display the exact color of the scene. For example, if blue color is seen on the screen, it doesn’t mean that the scene is blue in color. Blue represents coldness and red represents hot radiations. These radiations have its features very much similar to the IR radiations.

Proper adjustments can be made to an ordinary smartphone which can make it produce thermal images. To your astonishment, thermal imaging can be used in a variety of fields like military, navigation, firefighting, surveillance, electrical and HVAC checks, hunting etc. Listed below are some ways which can help you to use your smartphone as a thermal camera.

1. Seek Thermal Compact Camera

Seek thermal camera is a highly compatible and handy camera which is used to capture the thermal images from your scene. This best thermal camera for iPhone comes with the lightning connector. Don’t panic what is lightening connector? It is a simple connector which we use to connect other peripheral devices with the iPhone. Moreover, this thermal camera is not compatible with any other smartphone other than Apple.

Seek thermal camera operates in four specific modes; traditional camera mode in which the camera operates as a regular camera; temperature mode in which the camera can determine the temperature in a particular spot of the scene; threshold mode in which you can predetermine the temperature above which the camera picks up the thermal image; and high low mode.

This versatile piece of equipment when connected to your smartphone with the appropriate app can convert your smartphone into a thermal camera. Since it draws the power from your smartphone there is no need for the user to charge this device separately. Additionally, Seek thermal camera produces only thermal images of the scene and so it is the responsibility of the user to compare the real image with the thermal image to diagnose the problem.

2. FLIR one

FLIR is a reputed organization which produces thermal imaging systems compatible with various departments of science. FLIR one is a separate handy module which captures the thermal signature in the scene and allows the smartphone to store that image. It can be simply attached to the mobile phone which is compatible with both Android and Apple in two different versions.

FLIR one captures not only the thermal image from the scene but also it captures the dark edges of the visible spectrum and overlays that image on the thermal image thus making a blend of both pictures. This allows the user to have a clear look at the image and the user doesn’t have to compare the thermal image with the real scene to determine the exact desired location.

But, the resolution produced by FLIR one thermal camera is somewhat low when compared to Seek thermal camera. Also, FLIR one thermal camera serves as a separate device which needs to be charged separately.

3. Thermal App

Thermal App is another thermal camera which usually clips to the sides of the smartphone and suitable for the Android devices. The connection is made to the smartphone through a connector cord. It draws its power from the smartphone to operate.

Moreover, it has standard lens mount which can fit the lens of various sizes like 3mm, 7 mm, 15, mm and 35 mm. The temperature sensing range for this device is very low which ranges from 41 to 194 degree Celsius which is considerably low when compared to the above mentioned thermal cameras.

4. CAT C60

CAT C60 is a smartphone put forward by the Caterpillar organization which is a bulk machine manufacturing company. As a tough organization, it has fabricated a new smartphone which has a rough look very much compatible with the military personnel. The most exquisite feature of this smartphone is that it is a waterproof smartphone capable of withstanding pressure up to 5m depth.

The lockdown button can be used to lock the front speaker and the microphone with a shutter. Moreover, CAT C60 is the first smartphone in the world which is reinforced with the thermal imaging technique. The thermal images produced by this Smartphone are overlaid normal images thus providing a thermal image with the blend of the normal photograph.

5. Remodel Your Old Mobile

All the smartphones are manufactured with lenses and a sensor plate with the charge coupled devices which are associated with the circular lens assembly. This lens assembly has a small filter which is usually red in color called IR filter.

This IR filter in the assembly ignores the IR radiations of the scene and that is why we are not able to see any radiation while we click any normal photograph. Take your time and remove the IR filter carefully without damaging other parts and assemble all the parts again excluding the IR filter.

Now the smartphone can work as a thermal imaging camera. It is recommended to do your experiment on an old unused mobile in order to avoid any sort of discrepancies and disappointments.


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