Thermal Camera: A Single Device with Multiple Applications
A picture indeed says a thousand words. However, what if there is a barrier getting in the way of the camera’s view? Normal daylight cameras cannot visualize things through low light, thick smoke, foliage, or darkness. In such situations, thermal cameras come into the role which use heat sensors to measure the infra-red energy radiating from the objects present in their field of view. These thermal cameras can provide quick and important information in dangerous or challenging locations to prevent safety and security incidents.
Technically, cameras don’t see, they visualize things. Unlike normal cameras, thermal cameras are used for a wide range of applications where accurate detection is crucial. Thermal cameras are non-contact devices that use heat instead of light and convert it into a visual image. These cameras are made up of a lens, a thermal sensor, processing electronics, and mechanical housing. The lenses present in a thermal camera focus infrared energy on the sensor, and the sensor comes in a variety of pixel configurations that depicts the resolution of the camera. As compared to the daylight cameras, the thermal cameras have low resolution as they need to sense energy which has larger wavelengths than visible light.
What are the Key Features of Thermal Cameras?
Thermal cameras come up with a number of useful features according to the area of use. Some of the important features are discussed below:
- Detector resolution and spatial resolution
- Lens options
- Various temperature ranges
- Color palettes
- Emissivity and reflected temperatures
- Color Alarms
- Spot Markers
- Different Types of batteries with life spans
What are the Various Applications of Thermal Cameras?
Apart from imparting a major role in surveillance and military operations, such as scouting and night combat missions, thermal cameras are widely used for different types of practical applications across several other disciplines. Some of them are discussed below:
- In Mechanical and Building Construction: The technicians working in the construction industry use thermal cameras to identify the leakages in the building that are caused due to inefficient temperature regulation. The thermal cameras can help in detecting the structure of the building and spot faults. For example, these cameras can help in identifying the heat loss from the doors, windows, walls, HVAC equipment, and many more.
- Useful for Transport Navigation: Thermal cameras have significant benefits while traveling at night. These are widely used for maritime navigation to protect the ship from objects, people, and other types of obstructions during the nighttime at sea. Nowadays, many automobile industries are incorporating thermal cameras in vehicles to alert drivers of people or animals which are beyond the reach of their headlights.
- For Plumbing Operations: Thermal cameras are broadly used by plumbers to inspect sites with major leakage issues majorly through pipes or walls. As these cameras can be used at a distance, this feature helps plumbers to identify the problems in the equipment itself which areas are hard to reach.
- In Healthcare Sector: During the Covid-19 pandemic, we all have experienced the importance of thermal cameras. These cameras have quickly and accurately scanned all the passengers with higher temperatures traveling from various locations worldwide. Furthermore, these cameras are widely useful to diagnose a wide range of disorders associated with neck, limbs, back, and many circulatory problems.
- In Science and Research Field: Thermal cameras have huge benefits in the science and research sector by analyzing and detecting an accurate and precise image of heat patterns for various essential applications.
- For Fire-Fighters: With the use of thermal cameras fire-fighters can see through smoke mostly during the rescue missions when people get stuck in a dangerous environment. In addition, these cameras are useful for identifying spot fires rapidly and help fire-fighters to step in before they spread.
- For Animal and Pest Management: Thermal cameras are also helpful to spot pests and animals in dark areas and have the potential to detect termite activity. Furthermore, thermal cameras are more useful to conduct wildlife surveys in a completely non-invasive manner.
- For Fun: Apart from the above-mentioned applications, thermal cameras can also be used for many enjoyable and hobby-related things, such as finding birds, comparing relative temperatures of drinks, finding out cooler spots in rooms, and many more.
The Bottom Line
Thermal cameras are capable of providing more reliable detections and shape recognition as compared to visual cameras, which can enhance the smooth monitoring of areas. Having high image contrast with motion detection, the demand for thermal cameras will increase in the approaching years across various sectors, such as industrial sites, automobiles, power plants, nature reserves, airports, and many more.
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