Leave a comment

See in the dark using thermal heat maps

See in the dark using thermal heat maps
Rhett Allain

Have you ever wished that you could see in the dark? Night vision may not be something we were born with, but new technology is making it possible.

The easiest way to do this is with a thermal camera, like the Compact from Seek Thermal. A thermal camera uses infrared radiation to make images (a regular camera uses visible light).

The different colors or hues signify different temperatures; blues and purples tend to mean a cooler area while reds and oranges mean that part of the object is hot. Firefighters use this technology to navigate their way through burning buildings because they can't see through the smoke.

What makes Seek Thermal cameras so neat is that they connect to your smartphone through the lightning or mini-USB port (depending on if you use Apple or Android). There is also a corresponding app that displays the heat map on your smartphone's screen.

Just point the lens around and see what happens. Heat signatures of the objects in the room will display on your screen, even if you're shooting in the dark.

You can also use thermal heat maps to inspect your home. They can help you detect problems, for instance, if your electrical system is about to overheat, deterioration in insulation padding, clogging in pipes and gaps in air ducts.


The Seek Thermal app is completely free and you can download it from iTunes or Google Play depending on your device. It comes with tutorials and a user manual is loaded on the app so the device is user-friendly.

Not only does the app allow you to view thermal images, but you can save them to your phone and share them with friends. You can apply different filters known as palettes to images to change the color display.

To see these thermal images, you must have both the app and the camera on your phone or tablet.

The original Seek Thermal Compact Camera costs around $250 and includes a 206 x 156 thermal sensor. It's also waterproof and can detect temperatures between -40 degrees to 626 degrees Fahrenheit at a range of 1,000 feet.

At $300, you can upgrade to the Compact XR camera for a larger field of view and a range of up to 1,800 feet. You'll find these products on Seek Thermal's website and on Amazon. Look for the Pro version coming soon.

Next Story
View Comments ()
Turn your phone into a level
Previous Apps

Turn your phone into a level

An app to control your car? It's true.
Next Apps

An app to control your car? It's true.