Thermal Imaging Gadget Turns Your iPhone into a Heat-Seeking Device

By: | February 10th, 2014

Want to know if someone’s hiding in your house? Attach this gadget to your iPhone and get a thermal image. Photo © Flir One

There’s an invisible perspective to the way we see things. The naked eye sees things by shapes, light and dark. But, there’s an alternate way of seeing things by hot and cold. That’s where Thermal Infrared Imaging comes in.

But you typically think of thermal imaging as technology only the police or the military use. Now, you can have your own thermal imaging device wrapped in something you use every day.

One of the hot stars at Consumer Electronics Show 2014 is FLIR ONE, a product of Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) Systems. FLIR ONE is a thermal imaging device that can be attached to an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s. This device detects the heat (infrared energy) of its surrounding objects through its thermal camera and converts it into an electronic signal that is later processed to a thermal image on the iPhone screen. The imaging device sits like a protective cover on the iPhone and comes with an On/Off/Shutter switch and a mini USB charging port.

Figure 1: FLIR ONE (Source:

FLIR ONE (Source:

The device lets you see invisible heat sources through darkness and smoke. It can be used in moisture detection for water leakages in ceilings, floors and walls. It can also be used to detect insects and animals in the dark through their body temperatures. It also helps us navigate and look for any suspicious activity in the dark. The best part is that even after the physical object disappears, the heat emitted by it stays in the environment for a few seconds. Even footprint trails can be detected this way.

The multispectral images, even on live feed, that this device produces are undoubtedly its selling points. The thermal camera has some pretty advanced features like auto-focus, continuous digital zoom, adjustable relative humidity, insulation alarm, Wi-Fi connectivity to Android and Mac OS devices, a compass and a GPS tracking system. All this for an estimated reasonable price of $349, available Spring 2014.

Figure 2: Thermal Image of a Cat (Source:}

Thermal Image of a Cat (Source:}

Michael Cooney

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