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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  • @naish88 that's great, when I last looked the diy output people were getting was fairly unusable.  Looks like it's worth a go now!

    I agree about SAR, it would be great for that.  You would see an larger animal/human probably up to a couple hundred meters, certainly 100m.  People forget that real thermal isn't like the movies though, it can't see through anything so if the person is under cover or under forest canopy you won't see anything.  In open ground, perfect.

  • @Heistorm.. the intended use is really similar to SAR. I can guarantee you that you will be able to spot a human shape at least 100m away in a 35deg C day. 

  • 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.
  • 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 

  • Thank you naish88. I appreciate the input. Would you mind sharing a little detail of your setup and usage. Thanks.
  • We are currently using this camera without the SDK, It's more time consuming and tricky.. but does the job. 

    Here are some info:

    Unofficial documentation on iteracting with the Seek Thermal hardware - lod/seek-thermal-documentation
  • 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."
  • 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.

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

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