Thermal Imaging Cameras Help Firefighters See Through Smoke

As firefighters, our sight is one of our most precious commodities. But when fighting a fire, smoke can quickly rob us of that sense, essentially “blinding” us and handicapping our ability to perform effectively, find the seat of the fire and/or locate victims. Because of this, generations of firefighters have yearned to “see” through smoke—and now they can. In the past 15 years or so, thermal imaging cameras have been introduced into the fire service market, allowing firefighters to virtually “see” through smoke.

Thermal imaging cameras were originally used by the military, with law enforcement special operations units being among the first to adopt them for civilian applications. As thermal imaging cameras technology evolved, the fire service began to embrace it for use during interior structural firefighting. Today, thermal imaging cameras are available for firefighting use in both handheld and helmet-mounted units. (Goggles are also available, but for obvious reasons, they’re not typically usable for interior firefighting.) Commercial and industrial facilities have also found thermal imaging equipment to be very useful for checking on overheating of equipment and electrical wiring.

The Issue of Cost

It wasn’t that long ago that thermal imaging cameras were extremely expensive. The few departments that had them were at times being special-called long distances so other departments could use them. The cost of technology remains a major concern for administrators, because it can delay or prevent departments from placing new, ground-breaking equipment in field operations. Although thermal imaging cameras are still relatively costly today, prices have come down a bit, and thanks to a variety of grant programs, they are much more accessible to most fire companies.

How Thermal Imaging Cameras Work

Thermal imaging cameras can detect, or “see,” emitted heat energy through a variety of filters, including smoke and dust. They can also detect energy emitted through a door or wall, which indicates that they’re hot and that there’s most likely a lot of heat on the other side of the door or wall. Further, thermal imaging cameras can detect energy reflected off of water or mirrors, even though the heat may not actually be coming from those points. Important: Although they’re called “cameras,” fire service thermal imaging cameras only detect differences in heat signatures. Looking through a thermal imaging camera isn’t the same as viewing an object in normal light. Details of objects detected on camera may not be clearly visible, and there may be variations in depth perception, similar to the passenger side mirror on your car. It’s also important to remember that thermal imaging cameras don’t provide night-vision capabilities.

Thermal Imaging Camera Pros & Cons

There are several pros and cons to the different types of thermal imaging cameras. Hand-held thermal imaging cameras are portable and can easily be shared among several crewmembers. A firefighter who needs to exit the hazard zone can simply pass the unit to another firefighter who might be replacing him in that area. Any controls on the unit are at the firefighter’s fingertips; however, as the name implies, the hand-held unit requires a hand to hold it, which can slow firefighting operations.

The helmet-mounted camera allows firefighters to keep both hands free, which eliminates the issue of slow operations, but it’s strapped to the firefighter wearing it, so as soon as they leave the area, the (expensive) camera goes with them. Some helmet-mounted cameras can be removed from one helmet and attached to another, but it does take a bit of time to accomplish this.

There are also thermal imaging goggles, which can be used for search or other exterior operations, but they’re not currently made to interface with SCBA masks and generally aren’t designed for firefighting environments.

New production process promises cheaper infrared lenses

Driving a car in the country at night can be a scary. The combination of poor visibility and animals or other hard to spot obstacles on the road poses an obvious threat to both the car and its occupants. Some luxury models now have the option of forward looking infrared night vision systems, so you can see the animal in time to swerve. Unfortunately these systems are pricey, even as an aftermarket add-on, but that may soon change through the work of researchers. The researchers have invented a way of bringing down the cost of the infrared lenses down by 70 percent – opening the way to cheap cameras for the mass market.

Night vision devices are based on microbolometers, which are a kind of room-temperature heat detector. Arrays of these in the camera use infrared light to detect animals by their body heat. This body heat may be used to create thermal images on a screen or simply to activate an alarm. Microbolometers are very useful devices, but they cost a fortune because of the infrared lenses used in their construction. In order for microbolometers to see wider application, the cost has to be brought down.

Currently, lenses are made of crystalline materials like germanium, zinc selenide or zinc sulfide. These are very expensive and require costly grinding and polishing, so the IWM team went in search of a cheaper material that used cheaper processing. The key to this was replacing traditional material with amorphous chalcogenide glass. This is glass that contains cheaper elements like sulfur, selenium or tellurium and is commonly used in lasers and CDs and DVDs.

And it’s 70 percent cheaper.

The researchers are now working on adapting the process for mass production and are looking forward to the time when microbolometers are cheap enough to move out of the car market and into everyday life. They envision applications such as monitoring devices to assist the elderly, temperature monitoring in manufacturing and improving energy conservation by finding heat leaks in buildings.

This article comes from newatlas edit released

Thermal Imaging Cameras Explained

Thermal imaging cameras are devices that translate thermal energy (heat) into visible light in order to analyze a particular object or scene. The image produced is known as a thermogram and is analyzed through a process called thermography. Thermal imaging cameras are sophisticated devices that process the captured image and display it on a screen. These images can be used for immediate diagnosis or processed through specialized software for further evaluation, accuracy and report output. Thermal imaging cameras take measuring temperature to the next level; instead of getting a number for the temperature you get a picture showing the temperature differences of a surface.

What Do Thermal Imaging Cameras See?

Visible light is what we see around us every day. It is the only part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we can see. Visible light only takes up a small area in the electromagnetic spectrum and infrared radiation (IR) represents a larger percentage. If we want to see what’s going on in other parts of the spectrum we need specialized equipment.

All objects absorb, reflect and sometimes transmit energy at different levels. Different materials will give off heat or cold energy at different rates. It’s this energy that can be detected by infrared equipment and displayed as images.

Thermal Imaging Camera Applications and Uses

Originally developed for military use during the Korean War, thermal imaging cameras have migrated into other fields and have found many uses. Firefighters use them to see through smoke, find people and localize hotspots of fires. Law enforcement uses the technology to manage surveillance activities, locate and apprehend suspects, investigate crime scenes and conduct search and rescue operations. Power line maintenance technicians locate overheating joints and parts to eliminate potential failures. Where thermal insulation becomes faulty, building construction technicians can see heat leaks to improve the efficiencies of cooling or heating. Physiological activities, such as fever, in human beings and other warm-blooded animals can also be monitored with thermographic imaging. They are also common tools used by home inspectors.

Thermal Imaging Camera Features

Thermal imaging cameras can be purchased with the bare minimum of features that only read the temperature of the fixed center crosshairs on the display or with multiple features that allow the user to select multiple moveable crosshairs and draw comparisons between them to show the high, low and average temperatures on the display. Thermal imaging cameras have user-selectable multiple color palettes, such as black/white, iron or rainbow. The iron palette is most commonly used by home inspectors. The black/white palette helps identify details on an image, and the rainbow palette has the best thermal sensitivity for displaying the differences in temperature. See sample images below of some color palettes.

This article comes from grainger edit released

How Do Monitor Camera over Internet Work

Instead of transmitting video over a video cable to a monitor or DVR, an monitor camera over internet transmits digital video over a data connection: ethernet, USB, WiFi, etc. Everything required to transfer images over the network is built into the unit. It is connected directly to the network, just like any other network device, like a printer or scanner. Depending on what type of monitor camera it is, it may save video to an attached memory source, connect to another device on the network for storage, or stream captured video to the internet.

An monitor camera over internet captures images the same way any digital camera does. What makes it different is its ability to compress the files and transmit them over a network. If a building is equipped with a network, the necessary infrastructure is already in place to install network cameras. If adding one or a few monitor cameras, a user may use a decentralized network camera, one that has its own control interface and storage medium built in. When installing multiple network cameras it can be wise to use a centralized network camera, which requires a network video recorder (NVR).

An NVR is a program that can store video from network cameras and allow for viewing of multiple monitor cameras at once. It is similar to a DVR, but while a traditional DVR is responsible for encoding and processing video from component monitor cameras, an NVR depends on the monitor cameras to encode their video, simply storing it and allowing for centralized remote viewing. NVR software can be installed on a dedicated device with its own operating system or on an existing computer. There are hybrid systems available that can accept both IP and analog inputs. These will often allow analog cameras to be viewed remotely along with any network cameras.

This article comes from brickhousesecurity edit released

Security Cameras for Watching Your Car

We had heard many car owners who were frustrated about their cars being broken in, keyed, vandalized (egged or scratched), or having car tires slashed or destroyed while parking on garage, driveway, street curbside, parking lot or carport areas.

How can car owners make sure their cars are not vandalized or broken in when parking overnight in front of the house, carports, street, road, garage, apartment parking lot, underground parking garage?

Many car owners turn to car surveillance cameras, in-car security cameras, and car alarm systems to help keep an eye on their parked cars, especially overnight parking.

What Kinds of Car Security Cameras Work for You

Assumingly, many readers of this post are new to auto security cameras or searching for a good video monitoring camera or system.

Finding out car surveillance cameras or system that can meet your demand or fit your budget is not always easy. Make sure you have taken these factors into account.

Power Supply

There is not always a power outlet available near the parking lot or underground parking garage. True. Or running wires is next to impossible to the spot where your car is parked overnight.

Well? There are a few alternatives.

You could consider a parked car security camera like motion sensor battery-powered car security camera, or solar-powered outdoor camera. Or consider in-car security cameras like car spy/hidden camera, nanny cam, parked car dash cam, indoor home camera.

This article comes from reolink edit released

UAV thermal imaging camera for gas detection

Under certain circumstances, infra-red cameras are highly suitable for detecting gas escapes and the presence of gas in the air. They can be also helpful during tests on improving environmental safety. A thermal camera can detect greenhouse gases in the air, as well as gas leaks, which are hazardous to the environment and can threaten human health.

Some gases used in industry can significantly damage the environment and, therefore, it is essential to eliminate any uncontrolled leaks. Moreover, these leaks cost a lot.

“Traditional” methods for detecting gases require close contact of a probe with gas with the use of sensor technology. These methods are restricted due the time required and the risk of non-detection of some types of gases or too high selectivity (gas leaks to other places than where the sensor is located).

To detect gases, we offer a specially constructed infra-red camera, which is able to visualise gas on the principle of infra-red thermography. The thermal camera provides a full image of the scanned area and gas leaks are reflected in the image as changes in the intensity of detected radiation.

The thermal imaging camera is the ideal solution for the unmanned air vehicles (UAV thermal imaging systems) localization and detection of leaks of hazardous gases the option of standard communication with the environment through a CAN bus or PWM inputs. Of course, the thermal camera can record measured data, including GPS coordinates and the on-line HDMI transfer of the image to the side of the pilot.

The thermal imaging camera is a highly precise thermal camera with a sensitive, cooled quantum detector with the resolution 320×240 and with a competitive temperature sensitivity of 15 mK, which also enables to detect gases of very small concentrations.

This article comes from workswell edit released

Ten tips to get the most out of your Optical Gas camera

Gas cameras use spectral wavelength filtering and sterling cooler cold filtering technology to visualize the infrared absorption of VOC/Hydrocarbon, SF6, refrigerants, Carbon Monoxide and other gases whose spectral absorption matches the response of the camera.

By using gas cameras technology, the industry is able to incorporate a ‘Smart LDAR’ (Leak Detection and Repair) program that allows operators to safely and efficiently visualize gas leaks. Gas cameras has allowed the industry to reduce industrial emissions and operators to conform to future regulations. In addition, Gas cameras saves money, as part of a much more efficient process, but most importantly it improves the safety of their assets and their personnel.

To get the most out of your gas cameras equipment, you should consider the following ten tips.

1. Understand the application and needs.

Different applications require different cameras. In other words: one camera may not see all the gases, so you need to understand which type of gas you are dealing with. For example, a VOC/Hydrocarbon gas camera will not see SF6 and a CO camera will not see refrigerants.

2. Take into account the environ­mental conditions.

The success of passive optical gas imaging depends on environmental conditions. The greater the background energy differential, the easier the camera will be able to visualize the gas leak and pinpoint its source. Active optical gas imaging (i.e. using a laser based backscattering technique) relies on a reflective surface in the background. This presents a significant challenge when you are looking at components high up and pointing the camera at the sky. Also, rain and strong winds need to be taken into account. Rain can make detection very difficult, but wind can actually help visualize the gas because it makes the gas move.

3. Keep in mind that optical gas imaging is qualitative, not quantitative.

Due to the environmental variants, background energy differential and variations, an gas camera will not be able to tell which amount of gas is leaking or what gas it is. An gas camera will however pinpoint the source of the leak in the most efficient and effective way.

4. Combine an optical gas imaging camera with a sniffer probe.

Use an gas camera to visualize the leak and trace its source. Then, use a sniffer probe – a Toxic Vapor Analyzer (TVA) or Organic Vapor Analyzer (OVA) to quantify the leak. Combining an gas camera with a sniffer probe is referred to as Smart LDAR.

5. Use all the features and functions on your gas camera.

They can also be used for industrial maintenance inspections, including high- and low-voltage electrical installations, mechanical installations, pipework and insulation, ovens and many more. The thermographic function on your gas camera will also help you determine the background temperature/energy the gas is absorbing. Unlike with other thermographic applications, your object of detection (gas) has no visual representation and it is moving constantly. Therefore, a continuous focus is most important and so is the thermographic capability to determine the temperature range settings. An gas camera also allows you to record a movie to capture the movement and pinpoint the leak. It is always advised to take a visual image.

6. Keep it safe.

A gas imaging camera is a quick, non-contact measuring instrument that can also be used in hard to access locations. It can detect small leaks from several meters away and big leaks from hundreds of meters away. It can even show leaks on moving transport vehicles, hereby greatly improving the safety of both the inspector and the plant. Thanks to their great performance, sensitivity and, with some cameras, also the High Sensitivity Mode (HSM), you can scan for leaks from a safe zone or even from a greater distance, compared to traditional gas detection methods.

7. Consider future industrial emissions regulations.

Fugitive gas emissions contribute to global warming and pose deadly risks to both workers and people living close to these facilities. FLIR Optical Gas Imaging cameras detect dozens of volatile organic compounds, including the greenhouse gas Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), hereby efficiently contributing to a better environment. Optical gas imaging cameras also allow you to comply with new industrial emissions regulations & procedures as set by the new EU Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and by some EPA regulations in the United Sates.

8. Keep track of your return on investment

In many cases, the cost of the camera is paid for within its very first survey and in some cases with the finding of the very first leak.

9. Work with permits.

Gas cameras in general are not Zone 1 ATEX certified. Therefore you will need to apply for a ‘Hot Work Permit’ or use it under a ‘Permit to work scheme’. Remember, you can see significant and dangerous leaks with the right camera from a safe zone, even outside of the facility perimeter.

10. Follow training.

Learn from experienced and qualified gas camera users to get the most out of your camera.

Discover a whole new world with the Smart UV camera & app

The Smart UV camera lets you discover a whole new world by capturing it in the invisible UV spectrum. With this innovative UV smartphone technology, you can instantly share your discoveries, and use it to test product claims and make better decisions about your, and your family’s, skin. We call this, seeing smart to be smart.

What exactly is the Smart UV camera?

It is a connectable UV camera for smartphones that captures the world in UV light and displays it as a video or picture on your phone screen via the Smart UV camera App. UV light doesn’t have color as it sits outside the visible light spectrum, which explains why the images are in black and white. White shows where UV light is reflected, and black shows where it is absorbed or blocked.

The Smart UV camera is very easy to use. It simply requires you to download the correct app for your smartphone before plugging the device in by using the connector.

Once the campaign closes, backers will be sent an email survey asking them to select your variant and color preferences to work with your phone.

This article comes from kickstarter edit released

Infrared cameras for industry and research

Infrared cameras are used for non-contact temperature measurement and for the detection of twodimensional temperature distributions with high thermal resolution on stationary and moving measurement objects. We have introduced the longtime experience in the field of thermography into our infrared camera series.

The devices are durable, robust and suitable for industrial continuous operation. Our infrared cameras are used in process control and monitoring, quality control, early fire detection as well as for measurements in research and development.

This article comes from dias-infrared edit released

UV Cameras Information

UV cameras are a style of video camera that have been optimized for capturing light from the ultraviolet spectrum. This is accomplished by using a UV-pass filter, which will only allow light below the visible spectrum (wavelengths less than 400 nm). UV-A light, also called near ultraviolet, has a wavelength between 320—400 nm and is most relevant to UV photography. UV wavelengths let surfaces appear in greater clarity, and often depict features which are otherwise not apparent.

UV cameras operate in a fashion similar to CCD video cameras, with the main difference being that they record UV-A light. Regular CCD sensors are capable of recording UV light. UV-B light is absorbed by most lens materials, and UV-C light is absorbed by oxygen, making them mostly unimportant. While some video cameras may utilize a UV-cut filter to remove UV light from their recording, these types of cameras employ a UV-pass filter, isolating UV from other light spectrums. These filters are always made of glass, but also tend to allows large amounts of infrared light. Special filters and techniques (e.g. lighting, hot mirror filter) can be used to limit the IR contamination of UV images.

UV recording takes place via either reflected UV photography, or UV fluorescence photography. Reflected UV photography involves the direct illumination of subjects by UV sources, such as the sun. UV fluorescence technology involves the removal of visible light by filtering the light source. This ‘exciter’ filter should be used in conjunction with another UV-pass camera filter, and recording must be done in very dark environment.

The camera lens is one of the most critical factors in capturing UV light. To create a better illuminated subject by also capturing UV-B light, a special and expensive type of camera lens made of quartz or quartz-fluoride allows for the transmission of UV light in the 180—200 nm wavelengths. A less-expensive, but viable option would be to use older (pre-WWII), uncoated or single-coated camera lenses. These thinner lenses without optical polymers can satisfactorily transmit some low-wave UV light.

This article comes from globalspec edit released