In case you weren’t aware, thermal vision units have seen huge price reductions lately. There’s a few on the market for under $300! While that might still seem expensive, remember, it’s thermal-freaking-vision. [Tim] bought a Seek Thermal as soon as it was available, and just recently finished his first project with it — giving his car a thermal HUD for driving at night.
The Seek Thermal is a small thermal imaging unit that has a micro USB attachment for phones. Simply plug it in, and your phone becomes the preview window. But for mounting on your car, you can’t have it behind a window, because most glass is not transparent to heat wavelengths, so [Tim] had to get creative.
He designed and 3D printed a magnetic mount for it to sit on the hood of his car. But in the case any debris from the road hit it, he wanted to protect the lens. So he started looking up thermally transparent materials — turns out they’re really expensive.
The most typical material used for a thermal window on factory equipment is GaAs (Gallium Arsenide) or ZnSe (Zinc Selenide) — both with pretty hefty price tags. So [Tim] started doing some research of his own. It turns out some plastic grocery bags are actually quite thermally transparent — the trick was finding one that was optically clear. He tested everything he could get his hands on, and eventually found a plastic photo sleeve that did the trick — unfortunately it’s not going to provide that much protection…
The future is here.