There are many inventions that have made life easier in recent years, especially with the advent of the digital technology age. Cameras, for example, have come a long way in just a couple of decades. The likelihood is you now have a very decent camera on your smartphone.
In terms of wide and varied use objects, one that is fast becoming more popular is the thermal imaging camera. It is mainly used in commercial areas, and by the likes of the police, security services and military, but also has its uses in industry, and in the home.
The thermal imaging camera is of great use because, unlike a normal camera or even a night vision device, it can find people in unlikely places, and does so because it uses heat as its image source.
Let us explain a little more.
How a Thermal Image Camera Works
Our vision works via light; light reflects off an object back to the tiny processors in our eyes, which transmit that information to the brain, which means we can see that object. In the dark, our vision is impaired thanks to the lack of light.
A camera works in a similar way, and in the dark will need a flash or a larger aperture to capture an image. A thermal image camera does not use light as we see it. Instead, it uses infra-red light which is transmitted as heat.
The user focuses the camera on an area they want to look at. A special lens, and internal detectors, then scan that area many times each second. This detects the infra-red signal from every object in the field of vision.
The result is what is known as a thermogram. This is a digital picture that is processed by the cameras internal systems, and is then presented on screen as an image with different areas of bright colours. Each colour represents a certain heat range, so it is easy to tell what you are looking at.
There are two main types of thermal imaging camera – cryogenically cooled and uncooled – so let’s have a look at what the differences are. You can also check out the Thermal Imagers blog for more details.
Cryogenic ally Cooled Thermal Imaging Camera
This is the more sophisticated type of thermal image camera, and also the more expensive. In this instance, the internal systems that do the job are housed in a specially built container. This is then cooled to operating point.
The advantage of this type of camera is greater accuracy and sensitivity. It can detect changes in temperature of a very minor degree, and thus tell the operator of things happening at a distance.
The disadvantage of this type of camera is that it takes time to get down to operating temperature and – thanks to its sophisticated nature – is not a robust as the second version, so is generally for professional use only.
Uncooled Thermal Imaging Camera
The uncooled system is the most popular and affordable version. With this type of camera, the internals are ready to do the job at room temperature, so you are ready to go as soon as you switch it on.
Although it is not as accurate as the cooled models, it still returns levels of sensitivity that would be perfectly useful for detection around the house, for industrial use and for security purposes, and it is also more durable and usable in more challenging conditions with less chance of breakage. You can check out the Powerpoint Engineering offer to find out more.
Which is for you? That depends entirely upon what you need your thermal imaging camera for, so we recommend you check out these very clever devices carefully, and make sure you know what you are buying in advance.