One of the first things we heard when we started talking to firefighters about the potential for a heads-up display was “give us more and cheaper access to thermal imaging.” Being the tinkerers that we are, we thought we’d try to cobble something together with an Arduino and some off-the-shelf sensors. Luckily, some other folks in the Arduino community forged the way, so we didn’t have to start from scratch. Our thanks to Stephan Martin for his original write-up detailing his thermoscanner.
DIY Thermal Imaging System for under $200 - [Link]
This little camera may not look like much, and in fact, it’s not much, measuring less than 3″ square. But what it can do is huge. It’s a LADAR (or LIDAR) camera, which uses a laser to create 3D images. This tiny little guy has a 128×128 pixel sensor, and it’s able to detect objects up to 22,000 feet away with a depth resolution of up to one inch, depending on what laser is installed as an illuminator. LADAR (Laser Detection and Ranging) uses timed pulses of laser light to determine how far away and how reflective something is, and this particular camera is able to operate at up to 30 frames per second, which results in pretty decent 3D video.
LADAR Imaging Technology - [Link]