Real-Time Thermal Projection Saves Your Tastebuds From The Hot Stuff

With another wave of holiday parties about to land on our doorstep, we still haven’t found a great way to stop scalding our tongues each time [Uncle Dave] pours us an enticing cup of boiling cocoa.

Thankfully, [Ken] has both you and your holiday guests covered with a clever trick that takes the data from a FLIR ONE and projects a heat profile onto the surface it’s observing. Here, [Ken] has superimposed his FLIR ONE data onto his kitchen table, and he’s able to visualize 2D heat profiles in near-real-time.

If you haven’t started quantifying yourself recently (and what are you waiting for?), the FLIR ONE is yet another opportunity to help you become more aware of your surroundings than you are now. It’s a thermal camera attachment for your iPhone, allowing you to see into the infrared band and look at the world in terms of heat. We’ve covered the FLIR ONE before, and we’ve seen ways of making it both clearer and more hacker-friendly.

As we tip our hats to [Ken], we’d say he’s a generous fellow. This hack is a clever inversion of the normal use case where you might whip out your FLIR-ONE-enabled iPhone and warn your cousins not to try the hot chocolate for a few more minutes. With [Ken’s] solution, the data is right there on your condiments and in plain sight of everyone, not just for you with your sweet, Star-Trek-augmented iPhone.

Another interesting observation is that the visual data projected onto the scene doesn’t interfere with FLIR ONE sensor, the Lepton. “Well, of course!” you might say, but, in principle, both the FLIR Lepton and our eyes are interpreting the same phenomenon: light, just on different frequencies. It’s a nice convenience that these two observers of the same situation are limited to seeing separate bands.

18 thoughts on “Real-Time Thermal Projection Saves Your Tastebuds From The Hot Stuff

  1. how about just not drinking the cocoa til it’s cooled down a bit cos you’re actually aware that Uncle Dave’s cocoa has a habit of scalding? Aaaaaaaaaaand it’s a beverage not a condiment……

      1. This must be some regional definition of the word condiment. I’ve never heard beverage mix being described as a condiment. Condiments generally aren’t the food itself but augment the flavor: ketchup, hot sauce, salt, whipped cream, &c.
        While cocoa/tea/coffee are augmenting the flavor of water it seems odd to describe them as condiments.

  2. Maybe to keep with a food theme he should just have a “Blowing lips” icon hover over a hot drink (defined by a round object on the camera) and, oh, a penguin icon over cold drinks. @ Reggie: What, you’ve never drank mayonnaise? Mmmmm, tasty!

  3. If it is something that help patients without hands or mental capacity to avoid getting injured from hot drinks, sure it is a good thing. It needs lot of work as a product there.

    A normal person can easily figure a drink’s temperature by holding the cup. A person would have learnt that as a very young child. Is this a solution looking for problem or a hipster showing off,,,

    1. Even taking into account of *all* type of related injury, it is 500,000 per year for scald burns.
      The two highest risk populations are children under the age of 5 and adults over 65.
      >Hot tap water accounts for 17% of all childhood scald hospitalizations.
      Taking away that 17% because the source is from a tap not from a cup.

      That’s 1137 cases per day for *all* types of injuries combined in the US. Where is the thousands just from drinking part come from? Show your reference or you are lying.

    2. Found more stats:
      >There are an estimated average of 360,000 injuries caused per annum caused by burns and scalds, of which 112,000 require A & E visits.
      >Cups/mugs: 15807

      So that’s 15807/112000 = 14.11% of the cases. Apply that stats to the US case of 1/2 million per year and divided by 365 days gives on average 193 cases per day which is an order of magnitude less than your number.

    3. I made this video.
      Just to clarify, because there seems to be a misunderstanding, I didn’t make this table to stop myself from burning myself with hot drinks. (that proposal wasn’t in the video, it was added in the article.)
      I did it for educational values, to make it easier for myself and my son to see+understand how heat is distributed in everyday objects (e.g where on a PC is it hot), how water of different temperatures mix together, and how they cool.
      Sure, just looking at a thermal camera on a display lets you see that too, but projecting them directly onto the objects makes it even more intuitive.

      So yes, in the two options, I’d say it falls in the “hipster showing off” category.

  4. I believe there are people who are not able to sense heat, and as a result can injure themselves on hot items. If this could be miniaturized and manufactured as device that plugs into a socket/light fitting, it could be a real, viable product/application that could genuinely bring benefit to people with such afflictions.

    1. Or you could give those people a laser thermometer. that would save them from logging around complicated furniture setups whenever they want to socialize outside their own living room.

  5. It seems to show skin (~85F?) and the water coming out of the kettle (presumably near boiling) as the same color of red. I guess it’ll shine red light onto your hot cocoa until it cools down to warm swimming pool range.

  6. I have a flir one and what isn’t obvious is that the display only shows relative temperature. The coldest things will be blue and the hottest things will be red. When everything is the same temperature, it’s a bland sort of purple color throughout the image.

    The module is constantly readjusts the range to fit what it sees, so in the video above, that ‘hot’ water is probably only a little bit above room temperature. The key thing that gives it away is the arms/hands in the video which show up being very red when they should be more neutral.

    That said, the flir one is well worth the price. I found a couple of heat loss problems in my house within minutes of getting it. I further discovered that laptop power bricks tend to waste a lot of power as heat even when they aren’t being used. The only exception so far is Apple branded power supplies. The Apple power supplies are room temperature when they aren’t being used. I’ve been meaning to put my killawatt on these to evaluate the relative differences.

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