Introduction – It can start with an email
In this case, it did. The folks over at Sparkfun sent me product offering email that had an interesting breakout, the FLIR Dev Kit. This is essentially a camera module that senses in the infra red spectrum. They mention some details about the breakout on their website, so go check it out if you want more details.
Purpose – They have an app for that…no, seriously they do.
A few months back I had a coworker mention that FLIR offered a camera module that attached to a iphone. It turns out that the Sparkfun dev kit is that same sensor. The resolutions of the module isn’t ground shaking at 80 x 60. However, having the ability to provide a FLIR overlay to the higher resolution iphone camera was what made it interesting.
From the looks of the sample imaging, OpenCV edge detection of the high res visible light camera can be used as a transparent overlay onto the dimmed baseline image. Then the image from the FLIR is layered on top, allowing the colors to provide a heat map.
This is one possible application of a low resolution FLIR sensor. It’s a clever way to get high res results from limited hardware.
Detail – From the fellow that did the Kinect teardown
If you really want to get more details, this guy spells it out. I’m still processing the new offering from Sparkfun to give something more. But if this soft of stuff interests you, then I’m sure you’ll find the time well spent.
The real benefit is alot of folks have put in the leg work, making it easier for the rest of us tagging along to get it.
Relations – Sensor arrays and aggregate data
It’s entirely possible to take a few of these FLIR sensors and make a bees eye array. Combine the data from the array with other sensors and some magic can happen. It’s too early for me to go into what that might be, but similar efforts have been demonstrated before.
I will leave at least one tidbit, adding GPS tagging with the results could allow CartoDB mapping to be done in a more refined way.
Summary – The nearIR stuff is cool, but FLIR is hot
There’s a new image sensor for your embedded project offered by Sparkfun. The tiny 80 x 60 thermal imager runs for roughly $350. This device can be integrated with other sensors and processed to do some amazing things. I’ll be interested to see in the months to follow what arrives.