The technology behind thermal imaging is not as new as you might think and in fact, it has been used for many years by the military, law enforcement, search and rescue and is making its way into other industries. But what is thermal imaging and how can it be used? Let's take a look at what it is and where it might be used in everyday life.
Thermal Imaging Explained
There are many things in our everyday world that produce heat and thermal imaging uses temperature variants to form an image that can define warm or cold areas very easily. Heat is transferred to objects so easily that a thermal camera can see the difference in temperature on the floor or ground if someone has walked over it in the last couple of minutes. The display on the camera shows the temperature ranges in colors that start as black (very cold) to bright reds, oranges, and bright white (very hot). An experienced operator can tell the areas that have excessive heat and those that have minor shifts in temperature quickly and easily.
Keeping You Safe
One of the ways thermal imaging has been used in the last few years is actually making it easier for law enforcement to catch criminals. Thermal cameras mounted to a helicopter can be used to track the path of a suspect that is fleeing a scene, handheld units can be used by officers entering a building to determine where people are, and often thermal cameras make it easier for officers to capture the suspect in far less time, using far fewer resources than they had to just a few short years ago.
Fire and Rescue
Fire departments and rescue agencies have embraced thermal imaging as a tool as well. Firefighters can use a thermal camera to see where heat and fire are inside walls, helping them to determine areas that need to be addressed and allowing them to be less destructive to the property by pinpointed the part of the wall that needs to be opened up to put out the fire. Rescue agencies are finding the technology effective in searching for a person on the ground that they can not see very easily. An injured hiker under in a remote area is easier to find with a heat signature than spending hours looking at the ground and trying to determine if the "little dot down there" is a person or not. Even though it might not affect you directly, thermal imaging is having an impact on your day to day life, in ways that you maybe never knew about.