Flir One Digital Imaging Camera

There’s a myth that we have the space race to thank for the non-stick frying pan. In fact, Teflon, the substance that ensures your breakfast didn’t stick to the pan this morning was discovered decades before that giant step.

It is true though, that technology trickles down, from big business, from professional users and yes, even from space. Things like invisible braces and scratch resistant sunglasses all have heritage in serious scientific research and, so does thermal imaging.

I wasn’t quite sure what I would actually use this curious device, the Flir One Thermal Imaging Camera, for but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to test something that would essentially bestow superpowers on me and allow me to see in the dark.

The Flir One is actually two cameras in one. Thermal images are eerie and colourful but they don’t portray much detail of the objects filmed. Fair have added a second conventional camera that captures detail and using patented technology the images are blended together to create a thermal image, but one that’s far more useful and informative to the user.

The camera itself is the same width and depth as my iPhone but less than an inch in length. Unboxing it reveals just two parts to the kit, the camera unit itself and a flexible rubber casing for safe keeping when you pack it away.The Flir One has its own battery, so it doesn’t drain your phone battery and it’s efficient, as a full charge of the Flir has lasted me almost a week of sporadic photography.

The camera attaches to the Lightning socket on the bottom of the iPhone and is light enough at less than three ounces and small enough to be almost unnoticeable. The camera attaches both front and rear facing and after the simple installation I downloaded the Flir One app from the App Store, launched it and it immediately found the camera and my iPhone screen lit up with a rainbow of thermal colours.


The first thing I found myself doing was photographing myself. Immediately you notice the extra definition that the second, standard camera brings to the images, meaning that chairs and tables are defined, with the heat signatures of people and objects layered seamlessly over the thermal image. The camera takes stills and videos and you can save them to the phones camera roll for sharing or transferring to your computer.
It’s a lot of fun photographing family and pets and always being able to guess which chair someone’s being sitting in but are there practical uses? I headed outside to photograph the windows and doors and the heat picture it creates of the standard home is astonishing as it shows you where heat may be escaping, needlessly from your home. The spot temperature indicator displayed on your phone’s screen as you film gives you professional style detail. I explored the housex looking for overheating plug-sockets and the Flir One could indicate water leaks, inefficient fridges or smouldering in the fireplace or even how full a propane tank is before you crank up the BBQ.
There’s a few practical domestic applications but there is also a lot of fun to be had with this device. Filming wannabe skating-stars or budding dancers is a wonderful new twist on the home-movie and the camera’s panoramic imaging and thermal time lapse create photos and video and that are both fun and educational.
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