In searching for sensors to use with the Arduino, looking for something new to play with I discovered a 16x4 Thermopile array, a bit of a search revealed a manufacturer that makes a 32x31 array, these may well be within the reach of the hobbyist, giving us a way to add thermal imaging to our copters.  Affordable thermal imaging would be a massive step forward for the civilian drone! 

Manufacturer Website

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Comment by Copter Richie on February 2, 2013 at 9:18am

Please forgive the noob question, what are some applications for the Thermopile arrays?

Thank you.

Comment by Mathew krawczun on February 2, 2013 at 10:01am

well Copter Richie Thermopiles are heat sensors in an array like this they are basicly low res thermal cameras. so they can do almost any application a thermal camera can do on the cheap. 

Comment by Copter Richie on February 2, 2013 at 10:06am

Thank you.

Comment by Nick Turner on February 2, 2013 at 11:44am
Any idea what the price range is? I got scared away from Tetracam sensors after the sales rep quoted me $20K! Yikes.
Comment by Gary McCray on February 2, 2013 at 12:42pm

There are a couple of other companies producing 16 x 4 and 4 x 16 arrays available in the last year including one that was used in a Kickstarter funded camera project that mounted on a smart phone overlaying the thermal image with the camera. 

Those sensors are in the about $50.00 price range for small quantities as I recall.

A 32 x 31 array is much more usable, and if affordable would be a greatsensor to implement for a lot of things.

ThermoPile arrays have two important limitations:

They are fairly slow to acquire an image although this category of device is generally designed for real time image acquisition. The 32 x 31 array quotes max frame rate of 9 hertz which is actually pretty good.

Generally it is hard to change the field of view from the stock supplied one. looks like for the 32 x 31 array approximately 52 degrees or 38 degrees depending on the package.

Interface is pretty straight forward to a microcontroller with an array of numbers representing the temperatures of each (TempPixel??).

Main question is price and availability, If it's affordable I want some.

So, how much do they cost and when can we get them?

Comment by Gord Likar on February 2, 2013 at 12:55pm

Often wondered if anyone is working with this,    Panasonics Grid-eye.  

Comment by Gary McCray on February 2, 2013 at 1:09pm

This is the one used in the snap on for the Iphone in the Kick starter project.

I believe they have had supply problems and a long lead time.

The Panasonic GridEye 8x8 listed above is available from DigiKey for <$40.00 in stock.

Comment by Josh Potter on February 2, 2013 at 7:19pm

Are any retailers caring these?  I can't seem to find any.

Comment by Jesse on February 2, 2013 at 8:56pm

I'm struggling to find some myself... if anyone finds someone that carries the 32 x 31 array, or module I'd love to know!  

Comment by Jerry Rodberg on February 3, 2013 at 6:03pm

IIRC there's one US distributor in Boston.  I contacted him a few years ago on small production quantities (100) to ballpark some pricing.  At that time, the 8x8 was about $100 each.  The 32x31 was shiny new and ran close to $600.  This was with good pass germanium optics, not the cheaper silicon optics IIRC.  One other thing you should look at is how fast it can clock out.  The 8x8 will do 70hz full data, the 32x31 will do around 15.  Check the datasheets.

That panasonic sensor looks nice, but the speed, accuracy, and detection range are rather limited.


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