Seek CompactXR: Inexpensive Longer Range Thermal Camera

I recently came across this new camera from Seek Thermal, which is the extended range version of their previous low cost system. The manufacturer claims a range of 1800 feet, which makes it interesting (in my mind) for search and rescue applications. I had previously considered the original version from Seek, but with a range that was significantly limited, I doubted any practical usefulness. For standard ground operations, the use of a cellphone would be practical, but for aerial operations, I would be interested in a smaller Android based setup that could stream video. A board computer called UDOO may be an option, though I would have to investigate further. If anyone has familiarity with either of these products, feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Here is a video by Youtube user PhantomGuyTS (I have no connection with this person) showing the original Seek Camera mounted on a UAS as a proof of concept. 

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Comment by Fnoop on November 11, 2015 at 8:43am

I've got the XR, it would be next to useless on a UAV.   It's manual focus for a start, the resolution isn't good enough, the range claim is absolute total bollocks unless you're trying to look at a coal-fired power station - a couple of hundred feet tops is more realistic.  I actually quite like the product and the price it's put out at, but I feel deceived and cheated because they promised an SDK from the start and then never released it (and pretty clear they never will).  So lots of people who bought these hoping to actually do something cool with them have them gathering dust in a draw.  Don't bother, unfortunately.

Comment by Brian Greeson on November 11, 2015 at 10:10am

@Fnoop,  That's unfortunate. If they had and SDK i'd buy two.

Comment by Nathan P on November 12, 2015 at 9:19am

I would use the Navio instead of the udoo, it's am APM compatable hat for the raspi 2, I have one

Comment by HeliStorm on November 12, 2015 at 10:25am
Thanks for that input.
Comment by Gary McCray on November 12, 2015 at 2:27pm

Thanks for the Input Fnoop, I'd been looking at this and although I can see why the 1800 ft range is incredibly optimistic, that would have been OK.

What is not OK is no SDK even after all this time.

For us that's really what makes it potentially useful, without it, it's just a curiosity to stick on your cell phone.

Comment by HeliStorm on November 12, 2015 at 3:28pm
Out of curiosity Foop, is there anyway to focus to infinity? An SDK would definitely be a huge benefit for applications beyond just, as Gary put it, "a curiosity to stick on your cellphone."
Comment by naish on November 12, 2015 at 7:28pm

We are currently using this camera without the SDK, It's more time consuming and tricky.. but does the job. 

Here are some info:

Comment by HeliStorm on November 12, 2015 at 7:33pm
Thank you naish88. I appreciate the input. Would you mind sharing a little detail of your setup and usage. Thanks.
Comment by naish on November 12, 2015 at 8:19pm

I can't share for now the usage of it.. but I can tell you that we use the Odroid XU1 and a Rpi on Linux. 

Also I can tell you that despite the low resolution we were quite amazed to see how well we can see small gradients. 

Surely this camera can't be compared to a $9K Flir, but it all depends on your intended application 

Comment by HeliStorm on November 12, 2015 at 8:44pm
It was worth inquiring. Your comment about it not being a $9k Flir is exactly the reason for my interest. I do SAR work, among other things, and its done without fee, so keeping cost down is a concern. The idea of putting together an even somewhat effective aerial infrared camera unmanned system, all in, for less than the cost of many Flir systems alone is tempting. Honestly, the DIYer in me also grts somewhat giddy about the idea as well.


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