So, Gizmodo totally beat to the punch in the headline department — “Awesome Thermal Imager Turns Your iPhone or Android Into the Predator’s Eyes” — but I couldn’t not feature this Kickstarter project geared towards do-it-yourself home energy assessors looking to avoid coughing up a hefty chunk of change for a professional thermal imaging camera (or, more realistically, calling in the professionals).
Essentially, the IR-Blue is a compact, open-source thermal imaging accessory for iPhone and Android that allows users to easily detect cold spots around the house – sources of air leakage such as drafty windows and areas that may need a little extra insulation. From there, you can go ahead and break out the caulk gun and weatherstripping and make the needed improvements.
Explains RH Workshop’s Andy Rawson, an open source hardware tinkerer and the brains behind the IR-Blue:
I have a 100 year old house that can be drafty and hard to heat in the winter. I have been wanting a thermal imaging camera to help find leaks ever since we bought this house. The cheapest one I could find was $1,500 so I finally just made my own. This is the IR-Blue.The IR-Blue lets you see the temperature of things around you. It uses a 64 zone non-contact InfraRed sensor array to read the temperature of what you are viewing. The IR-Blue connects using Bluetooth to your iPhone or Android device to show the temperature readings as colors on the screen.
After only a few short days, the IR-Blue has surpassed its initial Kickstarter crowdfunding goal of $20,000 and there are 25 days still to go. The estimated retail price point is $195 – not exactly cheap but way, way cheaper than professional thermal imaging gear. Supporters of the campaign can order a fully assembled unit for $175 with an anticipated ship date of June 2013. Or you can order a build-it-yourself IR-Blue kit that comes with all the required components. The cost for that is $145. And on that note, all of the device's components are manufactured in the U.S. with each stage of production carried out by local businesses. The corresponding app is free to download.
Obviously, the usefulness of the IR-Blue extends way behind pinpointing areas of heat loss in the home. For example, it's probably the best thing ever for games of hide-and-seek carried out in the dark. Also, DIY ghost-busting. But seriously, Rawson lists a bunch more uses in the video that I've embedded below.
More over at the IR-Blue Kickstarter page. Is this something you'd be interested in having around the house?