Thermal Imaging Gets Small


by Douglas Black, December 18, 2012

Thermal 2

Thermal cameras are fun, no doubt about it.  I have used some very sophisticated FLIR cameras in my work – diagnosing buildings performing badly.  The same technology is also said to be useful in spotting  spirits being – well, bad.  The problem lies in the staggering expense tags for thermal imaging cameras and their periphery software, harnesses and support.

But fear not, ghost hunters!  Just as renowned futurist, inventor and overall real smart guy Ray Kurzweil predicts, technology gets better and costs go down exponentially.

Behold the IR-Blue.  You can get in on the ground floor of this high-tech tool, my paranormal friends!  Illinois-based hardware developer Andy Rawson created the predecessor of the device for himself, when he wanted to check for heat leaks in his 100 year-old house. He has since refined it into an unobtrusive gadget that’s slightly thicker but shorter than an iPhone, according to my friends at Gizmag.


The IR-Blue incorporates a 64-zone infrared temperature sensor, calibrated for temperatures ranging from -20 to 300ºC (-4 to 572ºF). Plans call for one version to connect with the iPhone 4S and 5, the new iPads, and the 5th-gen iPod touch via Bluetooth 4.0. The other version, using Bluetooth 2.1, will connect with devices running Android 2.3 and higher.

To operate it, users simply activate the free paired app, then point their phone/IR-Blue at the area that they wish to examine. An overlay on the phone’s display uses gradated colors to show which objects are warmest, and which are coolest. Additionally, when an object is centered on screen, the display provides a numerical value of that object’s temperature.

Should users wish, they can grab snapshots of the display for later reference.

The IR-Blue requires four AAA batteries, and is expected to retail for US$195. A pledge of $175 will get you one, when and if they go into production – given that the funding goal has already been exceeded, that looks likely.

More information is available in Andy’s pitch video below.

Thermal 1



Douglas Black enerficiency/ENERSPEC

Douglas Black enerficiency/ENERSPEC

Having more than 30 years experience in the green and sustainable building field, Douglas Black has dedicated the past 20 years to energy efficiency in the built environment.

Mr. Black is a high performance car enthusiast, always with an ear to the pavement for what’s fast and new.  He began blogging enerficiency On The Road in 2001, and now continues reporting from Auto Shows and Swap Meets at his Hot Flying Rats! blog –

He also uses his MagicEightBall to predict sporting outcomes and shares on his blog

Photography is a lifelong passion for Douglas Black, and while not capturing enthusiastic smiles at Wrigley Field and other sports venues around Chicago, he captures moments in the built environment.

And in his spare time, he works on getting that Captains License, expecting to retire on the water one day, taking photos.



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