Thermal imaging cameras use infra-red light to detect objects even in the dark. Traditional cameras and video cameras use visible light to create images and as a result they can only work in daylight, or (less well) at night time with a flash. By contrast, because infra-red energy is detectable no matter what the levels of visible light are like, thermal imaging cameras can even be used in pitch black conditions.
Thermal energy detectors inside the body of the camera convert the thermal energy that is emitted by objects, animals and people into electrical signals and thence into images. This exciting technology can be traced back to the work of a Hungarian scientist known as Tihanyi in the late 1920s. Thermal imaging camera can be used to capture both still and moving images, and they can be used to record these images in the form of photographs or videos. This article explains some of the ways in which thermal imaging and IR (infra-red) technology can be used.
What can you see with thermal imaging technology?
As its name indicates, a thermal imaging camera will create images of anything that detects heat. It could be a human body or it could be a fox in your garden. This means that thermal imaging cameras can be used for a wide variety of purpose. Wildlife spotters can use them to detect owls’ nests in the darkness, for instance, whilst police officers use them to find people hiding at night. Thermal imaging cameras are also used by homeowners who want to be able to see where the heat is escaping from their property so that they know where to add in extra insulation.
In short, if something is emitting heat, a thermal imaging camera will be able to detect it. One thing that you cannot see with a thermal imaging technology, however, is colour. This is because visible light is necessary to detect colour and visible light is on a whole different spectrum. That means that when you use a thermal imaging camera you will be able to locate your pet cat in a dark garden – but you will not be able to see the colours of their markings.
Can anyone use a thermal imaging camera?
Thermal imaging cameras are, as has been touched on above, widely used in several different professions. The police force use them, and so do the military. Military ‘night vision’ goggles use thermal imaging technology.
Miners use thermal imaging cameras to find ‘hot spots’ and as mentioned above an insulation expert would use such a camera during their duty. Nevertheless, alongside their professional applications, these cameras are very useful for absolutely anyone. As well as being great for wildlife enthusiasts, thermal imaging cameras are great fun to use in and of themselves.
You can play a pretty unique game of hide and seek in the dark using thermal imaging cameras or goggles, for example. Meanwhile, artists might like to use these kinds of cameras to create some wonderfully imaginative photographs and other images.
Have you tried out a thermal imaging camera yet?
If you have never had a go on a thermal imaging camera, why not make it your business to try one soon? These cameras are fun and fascinating. They might make your working life a whole lot easier, or they might just enable you to find out exactly where those rare bats are roosting in the eaves of your property. No matter what you want to use them for, thermal imaging cameras can be obtained very affordably online or in high street shops. Easy to learn to use, they come in all shapes and sizes. So, it will not be difficult to find one that suits your needs among the various IR cameras on offer.