updated 05:53 pm EST, Wed January 8, 2014
Case integrates thermal imager
Among the many iPhone accessories announced at CES, FLIR's thermal-camera case was a particularly unique introduction. The device essentially replicates the functionality of FLIR's standalone thermal-imaging cameras, but well under the $1000+ price tags of the industrial niche tools. We had a chance to see the FLIR One case in action at CES and ponder its many uses for average consumers.
FLIR products have been in use for many years as essential tools for the military, search-and-rescue crews, energy-efficiency consultants and other industries. The expensive cameras use an infrared sensor to show heat gradients, making a human glow bright yellow against a cooler blue background.
As the "polar vortex" continues to set record-low temperatures in many US states, causing a spike in natural-gas prices, many people will be wondering how to make their home more efficient. Finding places where heat escapes isn't always easy, but trouble spots become glaringly obvious when viewed on a thermal camera. The FLIR One can also be used to spot moisture entry into a ceiling or wall, even if damage isn't already visible on the surface, or the heat emanating from an overloaded circuit.
A thermal camera also can be useful for certain sports, enabling hunters to see where an animal is hiding in the bush. Campers could scan around their tent at night to figure out if that rustling noise was from a raccoon or a grizzly bear, while boaters would have a useful tool in a man-overboard situation at night or when navigating through a busy waterway in the fog.
Potential buyers can sign up to reserve the FLIR One when it ships this spring for $350.