FLIR is upgrading their product range with new thermal cameras that were presented during CES 2017.
FLIR has been developing high-performance, low-cost thermal imaging systems since the company was established in 1978.
Their products were initially designed for airborne applications, but later on brought to handheld and laboratory systems. Today, we already have portable, reliable and easy-to-use solutions for drones, and that’s where the new FLIR Duo comes in. It was one of the new products presented at CES.
The FLIR Duo is a dual-sensor thermal camera primarily designed for UAVs. Equipped with a 160×120 thermal sensor and a 1080p VGA visible camera, it allows the FLIR Duo to make use of MSX, a technology developed by FLIR. It blends the information received by both the visible camera and the thermal sensor, and creates a clearer, more detailed image, enabling you to better distinguish your surroundings.
Although the FLIR Duo was primarily designed for UAVs, it has a GoPro form-factor that enables you to use it anywhere you want, provided you have a GoPro system you can attach it to.
“What we can do with it, just like a GoPro, is take it off, power it on something else and use it for others things too.”, said Jon McBride from Rocky Mountain (RMUS), who was presenting these devices at the FLIR’s booth at CES. “We can use this camera for multiple things. It’s not specialized for just the drone space only.”
It also features a HDMI Out and USB port, as well as a bluetooth connection so you can connect your smartphone or tablet with it and use the FLIR sUAS application to see the FLIR Duo’s live feed. Within the sUAS application, you get to choose between three color palettes (HotMetal, WhiteHot and Rainbow), and three display modes: IR (thermal sensor’s full screen view), Visible (visible camera’s full screen view) and Picture-to-Picture (overlaps the thermal sensor’s view on top of the visible camera’s view). No matter which display mode you use while recording, the FLIR Duo device creates two separate recordings for each type (thermal and visible) on a removable SD card.
Thermal imaging cameras on drones can be very useful for different applications. Recently, we published an article on one of Canada’s oldest fire departments, Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE). They acquired two thermal drones to help them during different missions, such as predicting fire spread and identifying hotspots on a roof.
FLIR already offers solutions like the thermal imaging systems FLIR Vue ($1,499.00), Vue Pro ($1,999.00) and the Vue Pro R ($2,999.00) which provide some advantages over the FLIR Duo, like a better image quality output with its higher video resolution. However, they are missing some of the FLIR Duo’s features: the GoPro form-factor, as mentioned before, is very helpful if you want to fit it on any kind of drone; the usage of the MSX technology provides more detail, especially during close-up shots; and finally, they lack FLIR Duo’s affordability, which sells for $999.99. There’s also a variation of the FLIR Duo, the FLIR Duo R, available for $1299.99. The FLIR Duo R’s advantage over the FLIR Duo is the addition of accurate temperature measurement capabilities for commercial applications including agricultural, construction, civil engineering, building inspection, and public safety use cases.
FLIR presented more devices at CES, and although not drone related, they are worth mentioning. The FLIR One, the FLIR One R, and the FLIR C3 are all small handheld devices that, just like the FLIR Duo, use a VGA visible camera and a thermal sensor with MSX technology, providing detailed thermal imaging on-the-spot.
The FLIR One attaches to your iPhone or Android smartphone through your charging port. It has its own rechargeable battery, a 1440×1080 visible camera resolution, a 80×60 thermal sensor and a height-adjustable connector so you can use FLIR One with almost any smartphone case. The FLIR One R is exactly the same, except for its thermal sensor which features a higher thermal sensor resolution: 160×120. The FLIR One costs $199.99, while the FLIR One R goes up to $399.99.
The FLIR C3 is a standalone device with a 3” screen and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to quickly share images or videos with anyone. If connected wirelessly to a smartphone/tablet, with the FLIR Tools mobile app, you can transfer, build and share reports directly without leaving your jobsite. It also has a Hot Spot or Cold Spot feature, an on-screen measurement tool, that allows you to quickly measure temperatures within a defined area box. The camera will display a spot meter, as well as the maximum or minimum temperature, so you can instantly see where it’s the hottest or coldest. The FLIR C3 is priced at $699.99.