With all of its apps and features, your smartphone is basically a high-tech Swiss Army knife. You've got your flashlight, GPS maps, camera, jukebox, Internet, guitar tuner - the list goes on and on. Get ready to add another super-cool instrument to the toolbox: thermal imaging.
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FLIR Systems recently announced two new products that will bring heat-sensing technology to the consumer market. The first is the Lepton Sensor, small infrared sensor that will be made to fit into smartphones or tablets. The second is the FLIR ONE, a sleeve-like sensor attachment that will slide onto the iPhone 5 or 5s.
Thermal imaging is normally used by the military in night vision, law enforcement to flush out hiding criminals and environmental inspectors to check for heat leaks and damaged insulation, but FLIR says the technology has many practical applications for consumers. Home owners can use the tech to identify heating or cooling leaks that can inflate utility bills. Contractors can use it to locate studs or water damage. Outdoor enthusiasts might enjoy using the sensors for wildlife observation, night navigation or assuring that their campfire is fully extinguished. Even lost pets and children could be found quicker. And any fireman searching for hotspots or people trapped in smoke could definitely put the sensor to good use.
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The Lepton Sensor will soon be available to original equipment manufacturers and developers, as FLIR anticipates the inexpensive thermal sensor will eventually be used in cars, toys, diagnostic tools, machine vision, gaming and medical devices.
The FLIR ONE iPhone attachment is expected to launch in the coming months and retail for $349, with an Android version likely available later this year. Take a heat-sensing trial run in the video below.