Thermal Monocular Camera Technology: How Does it Work?

20170222One of the most important things you need to know about thermal monocular camera is that they don’t work like you might expect a normal camera to. When we press a button to capture an image on a normal camera, that system sees the world before the lens as visible light and captures exactly what it sees, storing the image on the camera for further usage. A thermal monocular camera does this too, but the way it differs from a normal camera is that it does not see the world as visible light, but instead uses IR (infrared) light to construct a detailed thermal image.

But what is IR light? You might be amazed to know IR is actually around us constantly every single hour of every single day. It is produced by everything from common appliances to our own bodies and exists constantly as part of our ecosystem. Chances are you’ve never seen it before – IR is completely invisible to the human eyes as our ocular systems simply aren’t designed to detect it – but take it from us when we say that it is very much around you constantly. IR is basically the emissivity of an object. Emissivity refers at its most basic level to a degree of heat output by an object and it is this heat distribution that a thermal monocular camera is able to pick up on and display as a thermal image.

In medical applications, the heat of the individual may change dramatically depending on the nature of the ailment affecting the body. Bruising, abrasions, inflammations, viruses and much more can cause rises or drops in body temperature in certain areas and by interpreting this distribution a medical professional can diagnose a problem in a specific area and take action to cure the patient.

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Thermal Weapon Sights

We have a wide array of thermal weapon sights suitable for any mission. Whether you are hunting for wild hogs or working for the military or other gov’t entity, we’ve got thermal weapon sights that can fit the bill for your operation.

Our thermal weapon sights are built water & shock resistant and work any time of day or night to illuminate targets or threats in total darkness, low light, behind foliage or in foggy conditions.

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What to Look for in a Thermal Imaging Camera

There are a number of components that contribute to both the quality and the cost of a thermal imaging camera. The two most important factors are the detector resolution and the thermal sensitivity.

The detector resolution describes the number of pixels. The most common resolutions are 160 x 120, 320 x 240 and 640 x 480 pixels. A 320 x 240 detector produces an image composed of 76,800 pixels. Since each pixel has a temperature associated with it that is 76,800 temperature data points. Higher resolutions also produce visibly clearer images.

Thermal sensitivity is the smallest temperature difference the camera can detect. A sensitivity of 0.05° means the camera can distinguish between two surfaces with only a five-hundredths of a degree temperature difference.

Another important factor to consider is the thermal imaging camera’s temperature range. The range tells what the minimum and maximum temperatures are that the camera can measure (-4°F to 2200°F is typical).

To obtain the best thermal image to analyze, there are four adjustments that can be made to most cameras: focus, emissivity setting changes, reflective temperature setting changes and thermal tuning. Each of these adjustments must be considered when selecting a thermal imaging camera.

Just like a standard camera, the lens of the thermal imaging camera needs to be focused to enhance the clarity of the image. Most cameras can be focused by twisting the lens. More sophisticated cameras have a push-button focus.

Emissivity is the amount of radiation emitted from an object compared to that of a perfect emitter of radiation when both are at the same temperature. Adjusting the emissivity is important when taking temperature measurements or when comparing the temperatures of two different objects. Not all cameras allow the user to input reflective temperature.

The reflective temperature setting allows the user to compensate for surrounding objects’ temperature reflecting on an object. Just like emissivity, reflective temperature is important when taking temperature measurements or comparing two objects’ temperatures. Not all cameras allow the user to input reflective temperature.

Thermal tuning the camera involves adjusting the span or temperature range that the camera sees while in manual viewing mode. Manual mode allows the user to adjust the span to a desired range, and the camera will always display this temperature range. Using the manual mode is best when used to bring out temperature differences of the object being viewed.

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Thermal Imaging module


The range of long-wave thermal imaging cores for a wide variety of applications and are available with a choice of array sizes, pixel pitch and lens options. They can be delivered as self-contained camera units or as OEM cores for integration into end-user products.

Our OEM thermal imaging modules include the MIRICLE range, ultra low-power MicroCAM 2 and MicroCAM 3 cores with patented shutterless XTi Technology, MicroCAM irGO thermal imaging cameras and MicroCAM HD high definition thermal imaging cameras.

This article comes from thermoteknix edit released