3D Robotics

Infrared camera for less than $300

3689507787?profile=originalFrom Hackaday, news of a new Indiegogo project to produce a real IR camera for less than $300 (although it needs an iPhone/Android smarthphone, too):

These devices normally cost a few thousand dollars, but the team behind the Mu Thermal Camera managed to get the price down to about $300.

The basic idea behind the Mu Thermal Camera is overlaying the output of an infrared thermopile – basically, an infrared camera – on top of the video feed of a smart phone’s camera. This is an approach we’ve seen before and something that has even been turned into a successful Kickstarter. These previous incarnations suffered from terrible resolution, though; just 16×4 pixels for the infrared camera. The Mu thermal camera, on the other hand, has 160×120 pixels of resolution. That’s the same resolution as this $2500 Fluke IR camera. After the indiegogo campaign is over, the Mu camera will eventually sell for $325.

We have no idea how the folks behind the Mu camera were able to create a thermal imaging with such exceptional resolution at this price point. The good news is the team will be open sourcing the Mu camera after their indiegogo run is over. W’e'd love to see those docs now, if only to figure out how a thousand dollars of infrared sensor is crammed into a $300 device.

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  • I took the risk, I bought one for 150.....i'll report back on it when it shows up.

  • Have you guys not seen the videos? Are they fake lol? It is far from blobs...


  • "There is no way you could find a thermal camera for 150 dollars"


    Hey, all I am trying to say is you get what you pay for. I'm not saying it's a scam either. I am sure you will get some really blocky thermal images. But the quality of what you get with that is not going to be high enough to do anything with.


    In the video for the IR-Blue, they showed it being used to find leaks in your garage door. That's not very hard to do at all. But when it comes to diagnosing your home, you need the real equipment, which includes a blower door.


    These cell phone attachments are nothing more than gimicks. Try it if you want, but dont say you werent warned first. hehe

  • Man you guys sure are tough on this. There is no way you could find a thermal camera for 150 dollars (the perk price now) with that resolution!!! NEVER!!! if its not a scam, i'm in for that price!

  • Oliver, its the same as the other one. You get blobs. Also, the frame rate is so bad on those cheapies, you couldnt really do anything with it. I watched the video and he made bad examples for the home energy part. You cant see those things without using a blower door to depressurize the house.


    Compare what you saw with this:


    And that is the cheap version of what they sell. My camera was about $5000 and it has issues. The frame rate is again, too slow. The resolution is alright, but not spectacular.


    Also, notice how close he had to get to see anything. You would have to be right on top of whatever you are trying to scan to get an image that even shows the blobs.

    Mount one of these on an aircraft and you just wasted your money, you wont see anything.

  • Dang, thanks for posting your concerns guys.

    What are your thoughts on the IR-Blue? Another smartphone IR camera  that's already received almost 20 times it's funding goal:



  • Moderator

    Different coloured blobs are not what most people are looking for either. 

    This seems of little or no commercial value.


  • I also contacted the developers about this. I run a home energy audit business and use a FLIR camera on the job. When I asked him about the images that they show, he freely admitted that you would not be able to use something like this for anything other than seeing some different colored blobs. There is NO comparison to the Fluke listed above. Output resolution is one thing, but you still have to have the expensive sensors to get a good input resolution.

  • Damn I wish this wasn't a scam!

  • Thanks for the awesome Post Chris while I am not working on my Podcast I am always looking for inexpensive ways to upgrade my RQ-11! Next on my list is to purchase the APM 2.5 once the snow melts so I can get my RQ-11 going fully autonomous.
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