Do you know how you see those cheap telescopes at the department store? The box has beautiful pictures that probably came from the Hubble. What you will see is somewhat different. You have to carefully look at [upir’s] Arduino thermal camera project because it intersperses pictures of what you expect an 8×8 sensor will produce with images produced by a much better camera.
The actual project — watch the video below — is undoubtedly neat. An inexpensive 8×8 IR sensor and an 8X8 LED panel join to form a crude but usable thermal camera.
He leverages several ready-made libraries and walks through how and why he chose them and how he had to modify them. We enjoyed the demo of plotting HSV values to the LED array instead of the usual RGB values.
Given canned code to read the sensor and drive the LEDs, the rest is easy. Of course, like the dime-store telescope, you aren’t going to get amazing results. On the other hand, you probably have everything you need except the $20 sensor sitting around doing nothing anyway.
At around the ten-minute mark, he shows the same sensor in a commercial module that interpolates a higher resolution to an LCD. Still crude, so he also gives a quick review of a commercial camera that plugs into your phone. (You can ignore the video from here on if the stealth advertising bugs you.) We’ve actually looked at that camera before. We’ve also looked at some of the competition. While any of those will beat the 8×8 Arduino camera, they’ll cost more and won’t give you the satisfaction of building it, either.