Hey everyone, new to the forum. I am a ME/AE at the University of Florida doing a project on building a UAV for wildfire surveillance.

We need an infrared camera and the only options that I have found so far is the Flir Tau series. The max resolution for the Flir Tau is 320x240. We are looking for a camera with a resolution of 640x480. The only camera from Flir is the Photon 640, which is about 2.5 times the weight, and 8x the volume.

I was wondering if anyone knows of any other IR cameras with similar weight and volume similar to the Flir Tau? (~100 grams, 1.2"x1.2"x1.4")

Thanks all. Great forum BTW, very helpful for my project.

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Both systems seem to require a rather inconvenient on board computing system that weighs costly grams to a UAV from what I see. Not the case with ICIs. I would enjoy seeing a net grams weight for total core system including lens, computer, and all wiring and Components

At ICI, Infrared Cameras Inc. ee have a complete 320 x 240 and 640 x 480 radiometric solution that is powered by USB 2 and Video out buy USB 2. We also have a board that makes the Tau 2 320 x 240 and 640 x 480 Radiometric with our software and calibration. We can also provide a complete USB package that allows color radiometric data, change level and span, triggering , capture to SD Card as well as other functions. We also have several Patents Pending for this process which were applied for several years ago. The Tau 2 has 14 bit parallel digital output as Stan stated but the output is Camera Link which requires a large box or computer for conversion. All of our systems are powered by USB and Video out by USB. This is through one single cable. Our systems. Our 320 system with optics weighs 48 Grams and the 640 x 480 weighs 68 Grams and these are weights with a lens. Our complete system is bolt on, intuitive, simple and works out of the box. It is simply amazing! Or newest Micro-PC Systems supports 4 wavelength cameras and communication for control!

The additional features in Tau2 cameras — including Advanced Radiometry — are made possible by using more capable camera electronics (versus the first-generation Tau camera). This is what differentiates a Tau2 from a Tau(1). There is no added weight, as Radiometry and other new features are implemented in software and firmware. A Tau feature comparison can be viewed at www.flir.com/cvs/cores/view/?id=60983 . All Tau2 wide field of view cameras weigh 70-72 grams, including camera and lens. The radiometric data is presented at the primary Hirose connector interface, common to all Tau cameras. The only “wiring” would be that furnished by the UAV (drone) integrator to get the data from the camera to another subsystem such as a data recorder, downlink, or other device.

If anyone is interested, I managed to get the SEEK THERMAL camera to stream via WiFi using a Raspberry Pi 2.  I'm next going to try to see if I can connect an analog video transmitter to it for IR FPV.  (The Pi has an AV out on it). 

This would be the only sub $500 solution for IR FPV that I have seen.  On the Pi it can also record to an SD card.  

I'm scaling the 204x156 image up to 640x480

Should be interesting... multiple seeks would also be cool!

The issue is with the Seek is the optic, noise, and NETD. We do 16 X enhancement on our 640 and have for years "4.91 Mega Pixels out of a 307,200 pixel sensor". We do the same with our "New" 2.3 Mega Pixel VOx Camera, we are working on 16 X for this one as well. We also have a digital USB adaptor Board " International Patent Pending" (back end) for the Tau 2, now. In order to do very accurate radiometry you need to have a thermal sensor on the lens, camera, FPA, camera body, etc. You also must have the algorithms to compensate for Distance, Relative Humidity, Ambient Temperature, Background Radiation, Convective Cooling, Emissivity, etc. otherwise you are just putting out numbers that are meaningless. What good is a thermometer if the data it gives you is not accurate? Can you change Level and Span manually from you flight controller or are you relegated to AGC? Don't get me wrong I like the Seek and Flir One products but you get what you pay for and it depends on if you are looking for blobs at a distance or trying to perform "real" inspections. I can't wait to see what kind of performance you get on a person at 400' so please post some images when you are done.

If you own a Tau 2 we have a true fully digital, small format. < 5 grams, USB, back end solution.

My whole point in using a 'seek/s' is price.... so I really don't care about accuracy so to speak, the main thing I need is differential measurement so you can identify 'blobs' versus 'non-blobs'. I also have several Flir products and they work great but I am not willing to risk them(yet) in my UAV's

We're still tinkering with the camera and Raspberry Pi but have not flown it yet.  I can post some video soon.  The image quality isn't great at ranges of more than 200', but it is readable.  I am working with the Seek Thermal camera right now, but will be trying the Seek Thermal XR soon, which has a lens better suited to the job.

It will not produce anywhere near the image quality that the Tau camera offer's, but the whole system is less than 1/8 th the price.  


Post some images once you fly it. We have not flown one yet and we integrate multispectral cameras on UAV's of all kinds every days. We spend several $ Hundred Thousand and more than a year doing a slick back end for the Flir Tau and other products as well as the DRS Tamerisk. We have all of the Seek cameras. I attached am image take of me with the Seek HDR. I also downloaded a motor image taken with our ICI 9320 from 30 feet away.


we have a vue pro 640x512, any chance you have something that would make it radiometric?

We can make a 320 or  640 Tau or Tau 2 Radiometric but the Flir Vue is Analog over USB so it is not a digital image and cannot be calibrated. If you need Radiometric you will need to sell or trade it and get a Flir Tau 640 and we can add our electronics and turn it in to a USB 2 Digital camera and then we can calibrate it. You will only get video out of any composite or analog camera and the Flir Vue is Analog.

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