Thermal camera smartphone clip-on answers age-old question…

Hot or not?
Seek Thermal

Wow. Can I use this to see through clothing? Good grief. Really? Everyone from community support officers to special ops commandos have used thermal cameras to save lives, solve mysteries and capture crooks. And seeing through your teacher’s cardigan is the usage scenario that leaps to your mind? You’re sickening. And that’s X-ray, which is entirely different.

Cool it, Sergeant Serious. I was joking. This isn’t a joking matter. For the first time, a thermal camera has been made available in a format, and at a price level, that mean normal consumers like us can get involved. The Seek Thermal is a whisper under US$200 (S$260), and it comes with either Apple Lightning or Android microUSB connectors. No more will we have to ruminate over £1000 Russian-made thermal imaging binoculars from the Innovations catalogue. Touch-free heat detection for the masses!

Seek Thermal
Seek Thermal

To do what, then? We want to see where the hottest bit of a dog is. We want to establish that, yes, the engine of that motorbike is hot; to see the moment that the sausages on the barbeque become as hot as fire itself. You know, crucial stuff.

Um, those tasks don’t seem that critical. Lighten up, Lieutenant Laughless! It’s our turn to make the joke, yes? But there are genuinely useful things to do with this warmth-aware widget. Like looking for miscreants in the garden, or naughty stop-out moggies. You can use it to detect drafts in doors and windows, and the clog-spot in a blocked pipe. There are dedicated apps for Android and iOS that work in daylight or night, with the ability to capture and share the 205x156 thermal pixel images. High and/or low extremes can be highlighted, and you can swipe back and forth between standard imaging and thermal imaging. What’s more, Seek plan to release an SDK in 2015 so that can other developers can build the camera’s heat-sensing into their apps.

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