Thermal imaging can make a safer workplace. Add-on thermal imaging devices are available for your smartphone. Soon we’ll see the first smartphone with a built-in thermal camera.
Workplace safety and efficiency can increase with thermal imaging:
• Electricians can discover electrical shorts and overheating wires.
• Plumbers can trace hot water pipes and find water leaks.
• Contractors can find missing insulation and air leaks.
• Rescue workers can use it to find buried victims.
Up until recently, you needed a device the size of a handheld hair dryer to do a heat source inspection. Now they attach to — or are a part of — smartphones. Three options to consider:
1. The Seek Thermal. It was the first infrared camera designed to attach to a smartphone. It has no battery. It taps power and operation from your device, which can limit use. The Seek Thermal debuted in 2014, and now sells for about $200. The Seek Thermal XR (extended range) is around $250 and has twice the range as the original.
2. The FLIR ONE. FLIR makes a thermal camera you can plug into your existing iOS or Android device. The FLIR ONE attaches to the iPhone lighting port or the microUSB port on Androids. It has its own rechargeable battery, good for about an hour. It debuted mid 2015, and costs $250. Creative Safety Supply also carries FLIR Drones for thermal imaging.
3. The CAT S60. In 2016 we’ll see the first smartphone with a thermal camera built in. The CAT S60 is made by Caterpillar, the heavy equipment company. This rugged smartphone has a FLIR camera integrated into the device. It works in tandem with a standard rear-facing camera. The CAT S60 blends the standard and infrared images so you can really see the heat signature of the object in your picture. Rugged is an understatement. You can safely drop it 6 feet to a hard surface without damage. You can drop it in 16 feet of water for an hour and it still works. The CAT S60 has a Gorilla Glass touchscreen for use with gloves. But its key safety feature is the FLIR infrared camera. Thermal imaging at job sites will be will be much easier. Expect to pay $600 when it’s released in 2016.
The Safety Brief episode #201, Thermal Imaging With A Smartphone, is a service of Creative Safety Supply.
Electrical panel photo © ℗ 2015 FLIR® Systems, Inc. All rights reserved and © 2014 Justin Myers, All rights reserved; Seek Thermal device images © ℗ 2016, Seek Thermal, Inc.; iPhone with FLIR ONE camera photo © ℗ 2015 FLIR® Systems, Inc. All rights reserved; CAT S60 photos © 2016 Caterpillar. All Rights Reserved.