Thermal Imaging’s Not Just for the Military

First it was the digital camera, then it was GPS systems, and now thermal imaging is reported to be the next innovation to make it onto the smartphone’s list of gadgets. Thermal cameras allow the user to see the infrared light produced by objects with temperatures corresponding to a different color. These colors make up the image itself, which, using the camera the user can capture. While applications are being designed, developers suggest that in time the imaging technology may become a part of smartphones themselves, rather than an add on.

The technology was first developed by the US military and users of thermal imaging has expanded to include firefighters, search and rescue teams, car manufacturers, and even wildlife protection services. However, affordable thermal imaging technology has never been available to individual consumers.

Thermal applications would allow consumers to track temperature differences. For example, a consumer could use this thermal technology to track temperature differences in the home when insulating, as well as uses for pest control. The garden-savvy consumer would be able to use the thermal imaging to determine plant health, as farmers have been known to use imaging to determine whether or not their crops need watering.

Thermal imaging also has medical uses, such as scanning for individuals with fevers. According to an article by The Economist,

Airlines used it during the SARS outbreak to identify passengers who might be at risk. A mass-market version could help schools and nurseries with the everyday problem of spotting feverish children carrying infections. Closer up, inflammation often marks the site of tissue damage, and thermal imaging is used in both sports medicine and equine medicine to help identify leg injuries.

With so many uses, it is likely thermal imaging technology will easily find a place in the daily lives of consumers.
Read more here- “Infrared Imaging: Hot or Not?,” (D.H., The Economist)

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Olivia is a graduate of Villanova University where she studied Economics and History, minoring in Gender and Women's Studies. She also has experience working with federal legislatures on health care policy, women's issues, and Internet safety.


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