In preparation for an upcoming renovation, our contractor did a blower test and used a thermal imaging camera in our house to see where all the heat was leaking out. The results were absolutely shocking to me; every year I diligently caulk the windows, only to learn that heat is pouring out around the casings where I didn't caulk. Cold air is pouring out under the baseboards. There were dozens of places where I could have caulked years ago, saving who knows how much on my heating. But I didn't have a $ 4,000 thermal imaging camera.
Now, FLIR, who have been making professional thermal imaging cameras for years, brings out the FLIR ONE, essentially a thermal camera that is built into a case for an iPhone 5.
FLIR ONE™ is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image on your phone screen and perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely measured, allowing you to use the FLIR ONE™ in a variety of practical and fun ways by revealing a thermal world not visible to the unaided eye.
Now thermal imaging is affordable for every small contractor or architect who does renovations or new construction, and should be as important a tool as a tape measure. You can't seal a house if you don't know where to look, and you can't insulate a house properly if you can't check for gaps and squished insulation and sloppy work, which often isn't visible. This is the proof one needs that a job is done right, for only $350. That's a steal.
Of course there are other uses, including cheating at hide-and-seek, security, and making what you hope will be viral cat videos. And they don't miss the social media trick either, with an iPhone app that lets you share directly to Facebook and twitter, so the whole world can know bad your builder or how cute your cat is.
There might be a whole new genre on Pinterest, infrared views of your dinner. Show how that fancy restaurant delivers cold food. The possibilities are endless. More at FLIR
Treehugger has shown a thermal camera for the iPhone before, and it was not designed around an iPhone 5 but could work on any android or apple smartphone. Have a look at the IR-Blue.