Thermal imaging on a smartphone
Let’s start with the thermal imaging case, because let’s face it: Who doesn’t love thermal imaging? Created by FLIR Systems, the FLIR One is the first consumer-oriented thermal imaging system for a smartphone. It comes in the form of a smartphone case that fits either the iPhone 5 or 5S, with a planned release date of spring 2014 and target price of “under $350.” Cases that fit certain Android phones (presumably the Galaxy S4) will arrive later in 2014. The FLIR One contains a normal camera, an infrared camera (thermal energy is mostly emitted as infrared), and a battery pack at the bottom. It looks like it attaches to he iPhone via the Lightning Bolt connector.
In practice, output from the FLIR (forward-looking infrared) One looks exactly like the thermal imaging cameras that you might’ve seen on the TV. In theory, you could use the FLIR One to see in the dark, check the quality of your home’s insulation, to play a killer game of hide-and-seek, or to navigate burning smoke-filled house (infrared can penetrate smoke, unlike visible light). The FLIR One website says you can use it to detect wet areas and leaks before mold develops — or perhaps to spy on animals (or humans?) outside as they move around under the cover of darkness. (See: How to turn your DSLR into a full spectrum ‘super camera’.)