Thermal imaging cameras are advanced pieces of technology that can detect heat radiated by any object or living creature. First developed by a Hungarian physicist in the 1920s, thermography has come a very long way.
The technology utilizes lenses that focus on the waves produced from the infrared energy that can be detected in all objects onto an infrared sensor arrangement. The energy is transformed into electrical signals creating a video image. Relative to the object and its surroundings, the infrared camera generates a thermal profile. The warmest areas appear white, creating a distinctive appearance, making it easy to identify various objects.
Uses of thermal imaging:
1. Uncovering the Identity of the Boston bomber
Thermal technology aided the police in their hunt for the 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston marathon bomber, in 2013. After determining traces of blood and what seemed to be body in a boat, authorities used a helicopter fitted with a thermal imaging device which proved it was in fact the suspect’s body. The technology succeeded in detecting the heat radiating from the 19-year-old, despite being under the cover of the boat.
2. Slough Borough Council
Slough Borough council has assessed that up to 3000 people are living illegally in the town and as a result of these figures, have recently sent up an aircraft with thermal-imaging cameras to detect any heat being emitted from out of unlicensed buildings. Over 200 alleged illegal dwellings were found during a two hour flight and the process is anticipated to be rather frequent to find even more suspects.
3. Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami
Thermal imaging cameras were used to save survivors from the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Video cameras were positioned on the end of flexible poles and squeezed through openings in the rubble to help detect survivors as their body heat warmed the rubble in close proximity them. The technology saved precious time, as searches could be conducted proficiently during complete darkness, sunlight and severe weather conditions. It also meant that less time was consumed shifting unnecessary rubble, permitting victims to be rescued in the shortest time possible.
4. Ford Engineers
Ford engineers are currently use thermal imaging technology to recognize where air is escaping from a vehicle. The technology allows Ford to test a variety of different ways of how they can contain air within the vehicle, by varying the design and use of insulating materials. This is very advantageous to such engineers as preventing air leaks reduces noise as well as develops heating and cooling efficiency, which consequently reduces energy loss