The Hema-Imager: Accessible Thermal Imaging for Smart Devices

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[Erik] began working on this project a few years back to help him improve his electronics skills. Now, after meeting an electronic’s manufacturer through LinkedIn, he is ready to get his device out into the market through a Kickstarter campaign. If successful, the technology will be shipped out and deployed in areas of construction, manufacturing, hospitals and emergency services; all of which could utilize the heat-mapping potential of this affordable device.

In addition to commercial uses, this product can assist in the reduction of household energy consumption by locating areas of heat loss. Without thermal imaging, the initial source of these types of drafts and airflows can be extremely hard to pinpoint. Abnormal equipment heating can also be found as well. For instance, electrical panels can overheat with loose or poorly attached connections.

Now, Hema-Imager is not the only product that is surfacing through crowd funding campaigns. MuOptics, for example, has raised over $280,000 through Indiegogo in 2013 without having to show an actual working product, barely even showing a 3D modeled prototype. Yet, they still achieved their goal, opening up the door for another device like the Hema-Imager to come in and raise a similar amount of money. The differences between the two can be seen on the Hema-Imager’s Kickstarter page.

[Thanks for the tip Enn!]

After the break is a video of [Erik] describing the Hema-Imager project along with a fire fighter’s point of view:

Loving the how they begin their sales pitch with a Predator reference – ED

Comments

  1. LK says:

    Nice to see a thermal imager that doesn’t appear to be vaporware (in one update, the muoptics team admits they “screwed up”).
    This is great for applications where the thermal overlay over the normal camera view can be used, like searching for isolation checks on your house or checking for hot points on large circuit boards.
    But 64×64 pixels is definitely not enough to use for fire fighting. For that we need a resolution that allows us to actually get a picture of the room we’re viewing without clean sight (our thermal cam has 320x240px).

    • hemaimaging says:

      @LK,
      Thanks! We posted an update on how we’re different from them, we answer every question, our prototypes have been shown at two major tradeshows with Heimann Sensor and Boston Electronics (and they’ve both snapped up pledges to help us out!), and we have the manufacturing in place to finish what we’ve created.

      You are correct. I’ve shown the device to several firefighters who were not in volunteer units, and they all said while it was cool, they wouldn’t use it because 1) you have to be able to step on it, get it wet and have it continue to work and 2) it has to be able to go into buildings. The lower resolution would also hamper ability to detect bodies. However, for volunteer firefighters in rural areas (which make up the majority of firefighters), there are times when a firefighter may arrive in a personal vehicle ahead of equipment and scout the situation out. These would be very useful for giving additional information while walking the perimeter of a building to figure out whats going on.
      Erik

    • Whatnot says:

      The one with the addon package for phones is available for sale. Plus official manufacturers like FLIR now make cheaper models too. It’s not like you can’t get one of these things.

  2. polossatik says:

    please stop “pretending” to do “electronics” in those kickrip movies with a pair of pliers on the kitchen sink/dinner table…
    really

  3. Old'un says:

    So this particular KS is HaD-endorsed. I see…

    • HC says:

      I too was thinking the post read like an autobiographical wikipedia entry. Also, this is FAR from the first thermal imaging kickstarter, several are already shipping devices.

  4. I think the price needs to get below $100 to get mainstream.

  5. hardcorefs says:

    I think it is not such a good deal, does it really need such a wide range for hobby use?
    Max of 150 so that Chips and PCB’s can be checked, plus a larger array

    I don’t like the ‘con’ they are running,
    Comparing the high price of another product to their ‘second run’ kick-starter price as well as all the second rate statistical data, I sponsor a project for its technical innovation NOT its use of statistics, and don’t get me started about ‘Hackaday’ continual use of ‘kickstarter’ crap to fill its blog, go find some Russian videos of them doing stupid things with Microwaves…..

  6. Dan says:

    After watching (lurking) after 3 thermal campaigns on indie and kick, I’m convinced this shit doesn’t exist until I see an on-shelf product demo IRL. It would be nice. Be better if double the resolution. After watching the video, pretty sure this is bullshit as well. Flir has a monopoly on thermal tech because they cracked it first, and have in-house chip manufacturing, they’re almost HD, and this DIY version is worst than the porn I first found so many years ago.

    • calliarcale says:

      If it helps, I actually got the see the device, and it’s absolutely real. I’ve been following the project for a while now. Erik designed the circuit himself and did the assembly at home, but the production units will be done by a manufacturing facility. I was impressed with the quality of his work; he’s got a steady hand and an eye for detail. You don’t always find someone who is a good engineer *and* a good technician, but he is. He also showed us how the device works, and we pointed it at all kinds of stuff. Looking at windows, to see how much heat was coming in, looking at the laptop computer my kids were using to see where it was letting off heat, and so forth. It’s very easy for the novice to use, which, as a novice myself, I found very appealing.

      Now, it’s true that there aren’t any production units, but that’s because he doesn’t have the capital to fire up a factory — which is precisely the point of the Kickstarter. No Kickstarter is going to have videos of equipment that works right off the shelf; if they had them on the shelf, they wouldn’t need the Kickstarter. ;-) But he does have a fully functional prototype, and most Kickstarters that I’ve seen don’t have that.

    • JackFlash says:

      @Dan
      You’re right – FLIR thermal tech is almost HD. I guess you are referring to the T640 camera. Good comparison at $27,000.

    • pelrun says:

      I have an IR-Blue, so that’s one kickstarter thermal sensor that’s 100% real. This is the first one I’ve seen since that looks like a decent step up from the IR-Blue and isn’t likely to be vapourware – especially since the guy behind the IR-Blue has used working prototypes of this new one, which goes a fair way towards establishing it’s bona-fides.

      That said, like any kickstarter, this could fail in a hundred different ways after funding even if it isn’t a scam and there’s already a working design, so feel free to exercise whatever caution you normally use with a hardware kickstarter.

  7. mjrippe says:

    So when do we get the plug-in to block animated GIFs on HaD?

  8. static says:

    For the record I don’t mind kickstarter projects be reported on Hackaday, they are hacks of sorts, and I hadn’t seen one that in my opinion that was “way out there”

  9. narf says:

    Yes please HaD continue to post crowdfunding campaigns. There are so many nowadays, often I miss interesting ones – like this.

    @Haters: This project looks like it is real – the sensor exists and the sensor company is obviously supporting the project.

    MuOptics uses a not existing sensor for a not existing product ;-)

    • djmanning says:

      My sentiments exactly. I also met with Erik (principal behind Hema Imaging) and what’s shown is absolutely real. Working over Wifi works great and the sensor only takes about 5 frames to adjust for the heat sources in view. To anyone claiming this isn’t real (ala MuCraptics), take another look. The thermopile sensor is stable and the campaign is definitely worth backing.

  10. Thinkerer says:

    The real result of these kickstarters and their like pushing the boundaries will be for FLIR to open up and *really* start producing for mass-market at low cost. I use a fair amount of their equipment in the lab (and talk to the reps) – they’re in business to sell product, they “get” that if they don’t do it someone will, and they’re shipping the FLIR-1 (http://shop.flir.com/dp/B00K0PXFB6) already.

    Keep pushing and this stuff will standard issue in cameras in a few years.

  11. BMac says:

    I hope Erik is sucessful with his kickstarter, competition is good!

  12. macona says:

    I would spend the extra $100 for a Flir One. You get a real microbolometer instead of the thermopile. Even with having to do a NUC the microbolometer is better. I have several different thermal IR cameras, 320×240 and 640×480 uncooled units from DRS and a cooled 640×480 unit from FLIR. The NUC takes a fraction of a second and you only need to do it when you start seeing non-uniformity.

  13. brian hall says:

    Amen.. I just ordered a Flir One.. why would you do anything else…$350 and a real company behind it…

  14. hemaimaging says:

    @Macona,

    The performance is similar between the FLIR ONE microbolometer and the Heimann thermopile in terms of accuracy and resolution, but the range on the thermopile array is over 2.5 times wider (the FLIR ONE caps out at 212F). Thermal is a wonderful tool, and the FLIR ONE and our Hema-Imager are at sufficient resolution to help you solve problems.
    The other cameras you mention are very high resolution by comparison and higher resolution will help speed up an inspection, but those cameras are several thousand dollars. The images you get from either the FLIR ONE or ours will be similar.
    The NUC on the FLIR ONE is a manual slider, and I agree, its not a big deal for casual imaging, just 2-3 seconds holding down the slider every 30 seconds or few minutes depending on what you’re seeing. But you can spend an hour imaging a portion of a basement looking for subtle problems with even higher-end cameras. The slider may become an issue for some people, time will tell, but we thought we’d point out our NUC-less ability.
    Erik

  15. hemaimaging says:

    I will be posting on IAmA on Reddit.com (www.reddit.com/r/IAmA) as user ebeall this evening at 6PM EST to give people an opportunity to ask more questions about this. There is still some skepticism, and Reddit is a tough on people who don’t have everything together. Please check it out, especially if you are still skeptical about it. Thanks!

    Erik

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