Overview of Seek thermal imaging device
Creating a smartphone accessory in partnership with Raytheon, no less, will make anyone take you seriously. And when the said accessory is the world’s first affordable thermal infrared camera that can be directly attached to your smartphone, you drop everything and listen. Seek Thermal is a thermal imaging device that can be connected to the microUSB port of your smartphone. It can also feed live videos to your display. At the moment, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, and Moto X / Moto G are the only devices tat are officially supported by this thermal imaging device.
The resolution is a big issue with thermal imaging products that has entered the market for the first time. Seek Thermal has a sensor with a 206×156 resolution and costs only $200 – way, way cheaper than the thermal imaging system of FLIR with an 80×60 resolution and a matching price of $1,000. The field of view of Seek Thermal, like other IR cameras, is narrow at 36 degrees.
It can be argued that other expensive thermal cameras have advantages over Seek Thermal, such as:
– Better temperature accuracy
– Built-in visible-light cameras
– Extreme ruggedness
– Bundled software suites to analyze images
Seek is accurate for temperatures above 90 degrees Celcius, but it is very sensitive from -40 degress Celcius to 330 degrees Celcius, but the company said that they are working on this. The still images take from Seek Thermal looks like butt particularly if it’s a complex scene, but this is because the 206×156 images are upscaled to 400% of their original size. Seek Thermal is also capable of taking videos: something that a lot of thermal imagers cannot do.
Thermal imaging is used by professional race teams as well as auto manufacturers so that they can see how engines and other vital components are heating up during stress testing. It would be easier to see exhaust leaks and radiator stoppage just by looking at the distribution of heat in the radiator when the engine has been started cold. Other uses for Seek Thermal include your wall insulation at home, or even drain stoppages, window leaks, hot water pipes, or ventilation. In other simple uses, it may also be used for cooking to see how heat is distributed on your frying pan and to take the temperature of this. That’s how precise Seek Thermal is. The Seek Thermal can also be used at night, as anything that generates heat can be more easily seen in the evening background.
A problem with Seek Thermal is that it lacks a secondary video sensor or the capacity to underlay video from your smartphone camera to the thermal image, and as a result, the frame rate is bad. It’s just a minor complaint, though, and probably comes because of the much lower price. Other thermal cameras, the more expensive ones, combine a video feed of visible light from a second camera under the thermal imagery in order to avoid the slow refresh rate.
Other drawbacks of the Seek Thermal include:
– The Android version has a non-reversible microUSB connector. It’s a common orientation, but still, not all Android smartphones have this kind of orientation for their microUSB port. Seek has reported that it will be releasing a reversed microUSB OTG adapter.
On the plus side, the Seek Thermal is the size of two small USB drives, so the microUSB port problem is not that big of an issue. The dimensions of the thermal camera are 1.75 inches x 0.75 inches x 0.75 inches. It has a magnesium alloy casing and the device feels very solid and durable.
The device works well with the Galaxy S5. There is no calibration or other steps required. As soon as you plug it into your smartphone, the Seek app will automatically start. You also don’t have to worry about pairing because it communications through the USB, so you just need a phone that is USB OTG capable. It also functions well with the LG G3.
The Seek app can be set in such a way that:
– It shows the temperature for the object in the center of the camera
– It shows the high and low temperatures in the camera view
– You can change the color overlay scheme with Seek’s huge selection of alternative schemes.
In short, Seek Thermal is a really great device. It’s just awesome. It’s legitimately affordable at a fifth of the normal prices of thermal cameras. The fact that it partnered with Raytheon and Freescale is a big plus for Seek’s popularity. These companies started the production of microbolometers or the sensors which are used in infrared cameras. Seek said that they are now using a manufacturing process that can lessen the time and money required to produce each device.
What do you think of Seek Thermal? Add a comment below!