Monday 22 February 2016

A new inexpensive thermal camera from CAT ... in a phone

Last June I had a chance to look at the Flir One thermal add-on for the iPhone. This was based on Flir's tiny Lepton bolometer. This has a resolution of 80 by 60 pixels and is aimed at OEMs to incorporate in various devices.

The latest is an Android mobile phone from Reading UK-based CAT called the S60, which was launched yesterday at the Mobile World Congress.

The CAT literature doesn't mention thermal resolution, although there is some online speculation that Flir's Lepton is now available with 160 by 120 pixel resolution, as reported by Ars Technica last August. Whatever it is, the CAT device seems to make use of the same blending technology that the Flir one uses to give false-resolution to the thermal image, which makes it much more useful. The visible and thermal cameras are also much closer together in the CAT, which will reduce need to correct the parallax errors at close distances that the original Flir One exhibited.

This is still not really of a sufficient 'quality' to be an artistic imaging device, but if you're a plumber, heating engineer or electrician this is a kind of tool that will soon be making its way into your toolbox.

You can see the BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones trying one out, and chatting to 'the man from CAT' in this video clip.