Detect Drafty Windows with Your Smartphone
Smartphones are a citizen scientist's best friend. With a host of tools, apps and accessories that can be used to carry out experiments and document your findings, it seems that we're only just beginning to see what can be done with the gadgets. With that in mind, a new scientific smartphone accessory is looking for funding on Kickstarter.
The IR-Blue is a thermal imaging camera and app combo that lets you visualize the temperature differences of things around you. Like the LabStrip accessory before it, this attachable accessory lets users investigate and find answers on their own without having to hire a professional or use professional-level equipment.
The IR-Blue can be used to detect heat leaks like drafty windows or spots that need more insulation so that you can make repairs to improve the energy efficiency of your home.
Inventor Andy Rawson says on Kickstarter, "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."
The accessory is very compact, slightly smaller than an iPhone. It connects via Bluetooth 4.0 for iPhone 4S, 5, the New iPads and the 5th gen iPod Touch and via Bluetooth 2.1 for Android 2.3 and newer devices with at least 480 x 800 resolution displays.
Another cool part of the IR-Blue is that it's an Open Source Hardware project so that anyone can replicate or build upon Rawson's hardware design and he's also made the source code for the iPhone app available
The IR-Blue is estimated to retail for $195, but a pledge level of $165 or more will get a fully assembled IR-Blue as a reward. The Kickstarter campaign has already made over $48,000 which is more than double its $20,000 goal and there are still 26 days left to pledge.
You can see Rawson's intro video below as well as a demo of the device using an iPhone.