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Thermal Camera!! Becoming increasingly more affordable, thermal camera is rapidly becoming adopted in many different industries from marine iceberg detection to automated process machinery monitoring. They’re also extremely common in building analysis, detecting electrical components that are overheating and countless other applications. Thermal camera can play a crucial part in infectious disease management. They can help medical workers separate severe cases from the asymptomatic, and isolate especially serious cases. Given today’s sudden, critical outbreak of COVID-19, these cameras can play a significant role in coronavirus management, too.
What Is Thermal Camera?
A thermal camera is used to detect how heat is distributed across an environment. In basic terms, a thermography tool detects heat rather than light, displaying this information as a heat-map image with relevant temperature data. Whereas every pixel of a digital image is assigned a visual marker, a pixel for a thermal image is assigned image and temperature data, allowing the heat map to be created.
Application of Thermal Camera
The uses of thermal camera is vast; here’s just a few examples of how these instruments are used all over the world:
- Home and building inspections – spot moisture damage, detect poor insulation and more
- Marine use – used by both military and commercial vessels to aid with detection of icebergs, enemy ships and warm bodies in the water
- Electrical inspection – find overheating components and take remedial action before they become a problem
- Law enforcement – police use these cameras to track criminal body heat on foot, in vehicles and from the air
- Security – CCTV thermal installations can see through darkness and create 360 degree surveillance networks
- Process – monitor production lines constantly for problematic components and overheating issues
- Medical – spot tissue damage and fever conditions in both human and animals
Working Procedure Of Thermal Camera
Thermal camera detect temperature by recognizing and capturing different levels of infrared light. This light is invisible to the naked eye, but can be felt as heat if the intensity is high enough.
All objects emit some kind of infrared radiation, and it’s one of the ways that heat is transferred. If you hold your hand over some hot coals on the grill, those coals are emitting a ton of infrared radiation, and the heat is transferring to your hand. Furthermore, only about half of the sun’s energy is given off as visible light—the rest is a mix of ultraviolet and infrared light.
The hotter an object is, the more infrared radiation it produces. Thermal cameras can see this radiation and convert it to an image that we can then see with our eyes, much like how a night vision camera can capture invisible infrared light and convert it to an image that our eyes can see.
Inside of a thermal camera, there are a bunch of tiny measuring devices that capture infrared radiation, called microbolometers, and each pixel has one. From there, the microbolometer records the temperature and then assigns that pixel to an appropriate color. As you might have guessed, this is why most thermal cameras have an extremely low resolution compared to modern TVs and other displays in fact, a very good resolution for a thermal camera is only around 640×480.
Types of Thermal Camera
- Cooled Detectors
Cooled thermal camera need low temperatures to work. The low temperature allows the camera to capture the images more efficiently. These cool thermal imaging cameras are expensive; however, they produce clear and crisp images.
- Uncooled Detectors
Thermal cameras do not need any special temperature and can function at any temperature range, even at room temperature. Compared to the cooled thermal imaging cameras, the images produced by the uncooled ones are low-quality; however, these are much cheaper when compared to the cooled cameras.
Buying Guidelines Of Thermal Camera:
Before you really go out to buy one, here are some factors you should look out for when buying a thermal imaging camera. The criteria will generally vary depending on your requirement and your budget; however, you can use these points as a starting point of what you should consider.
- Detector Resolution
Opting for a thermal camera with a higher detector resolution will enable the camera to detect small targets even from a distance. The quantitative result produced is also effective; however, it shows even the small details of the object with greater accuracy.
- Detector Resolution vs Display Resolution
You must focus more on the detector resolution than the display resolution when you buy a thermal imaging camera. Even if the display resolution is higher, your output resolution will be low if the detector resolution of the camera is low. So, choose a thermal imaging camera that offers a higher detection resolution.
- Built-In Camera and Laser
There are many times when you will need a visible image of the object, as well as the thermal camera. So, buying a thermal camera with an in-built visible camera makes more sense than carrying along two cameras. Having a camera with an in-built laser can offer an added advantage.
This is the most important factor to consider when buying a thermal camera. Choose a thermal camera that delivers greater accuracy and also lets you measure the difference in the heat exactly. Several thermal imaging cameras allow you to just see the heat difference; however, the best cameras will allow you to measure the heat difference too. Select a camera that provides an accuracy of detection that is -/+2%.
- Standard Format Output
The thermal imaging camera you buy should produce an output file or image that is in the standard format so that you can read the file on various devices easily, without the need for a third-party tool. Many camera models use their own proprietary software, making it difficult to read the file on other devices.
- Screen Size and Display
Most cameras have a screen size of around 3-inches and the images displayed of minimal quality. Look for a camera that has a screen size of at least 5 to 7 inches that can display high-quality images. The bigger the screen, the greater the accuracy and this enables you to identify things more easily.
- Size and Weight
You may be holding the camera and shooting for long periods of time and sometimes, you may have to film in tight spaces. So, it is a good idea to look for a compact and small-sized camera that is also lightweight, which makes it easy to carry for prolonged periods of time and at the same time, the quality and resolution of the pictures should not be compromised.
The build quality of the camera is an important thing to consider and the camera should have a user-friendly interface that is simple to understand and learn. The buttons of the camera should be positioned in such a way that you don’t have trouble while shooting something. Also, the camera should have a simple and easy-to-navigate menu.
- Wide Temperature Range
Look for a thermal camera that offers a wide temperature range. The camera that you select must be able to capture all different kinds of temperature ranges. For simple and home use, a range of 14oF to 300oF works quite well. However, if you’re planning to use the thermal camera for professional purposes, then look for a camera which offers you a wider temperature range between 140oF to 600oF.
- Picture-In-Picture Feature
While the picture-in-picture feature may not seem useful or important at the outset, it can be very helpful. This allows you to insert the thermal picture of an object over the visible picture without the need for any third-party tools and this function can be of great use, especially for professionals.
Buying the right kind of thermal camera, especially with so many types, brands, and models available in the market can be rather overwhelming and so, we have put together details of some of the best thermal cameras available.
A thermal camera is a powerful, cost-effective and extremely easy tousle troubleshooting tool, which makes it extremely useful in the construction industry to perform home inspections, locate energy losses, detect HVAC and thermal insulation problems, locate structural issues, and many more. As lot of Thermal camera are available in the market This piece will help you out to buy the best thermal camera.