Commercial applications. “Due to high cost and sophistication of thermal imagers, civil market is presently very limited,” says Prijo Samuel, senior consultant global electronics 6Wresearch. But even with limited numbers, there is demand for such equipment. These equipment are highly precise in their measurements. “Products being developed for electrical and mechanical applications can measure temperature as per specified range with an accuracy of ±1.5°C,” adds Singh.
“Whenever used, commercial applications require long operating hours. Micro-bolometers are good for that since no maintenance is required,” adds Israely.
Redirecting traffic. Heavy traffic is now being controlled via thermal imagers as well. Manufacturers have come up with equipment specifically designed to cover rush-hour traffic in urban environments. These provide very accurate and real-time solutions for traffic controllers to dynamically reroute traffic.
FLIR TrafiOne is one such thermal imager module. It connects to a city’s traffic signal controller to allow for a more dynamic control of traffic signals based on traffic and pedestrian patterns and intensity. Using traffic flow information collected through a Wi-Fi tracking technology, it can also measure traffic delay times at intersections.
Defence involvement. Designing defence equipment requires a great deal of innovation and technological know-how. As Israely says, “Defence-related projects are often related to customising existing solutions to specific needs.”
“Thermal imaging systems such as thermal imaging fire control and thermal imaging sights were deployed in main battle tanks and mechanised infantry vehicles in recent years,” Rajat Kharbanda, senior consultant, research and consulting, 6Wresearch, adds.
Israely adds, “Driver’s vision enhancement kits are built to withstand the harsh conditions that involve armoured vehicle movement through the battlefield,”
Thermal imaging modules, and not camera core ones, are being called in for the defence sector. This allows for ease of use for defence personal. “MEOS modular EO/IR system is proven for border and coastal security as well as perimeter protection of critical sites including military bases, offshore oil/gas rigs and more,” mentions CONTROP’s vice president of marketing, Johnny Carni, in a press release.
The future looks hot
Advances like easy-to-use accessories for smartphones have further increased the ease of use and made the devices available to the user. With applications ranging from security applications to sports referrals, newer uses are being considered daily.
“There is growing demand for handheld thermal imaging devices for industrial applications, and for cooled thermal imaging systems for fighter aircraft and armoured divisions,” adds Samuel. Requirement for portable equipment is on the rise, and thermal imagers will definitely not be left behind.
Saurabh Durgapal is working as technology journalist at EFY