iPhone Thermal Imaging Just Became Much Cheaper, Better

A few months ago we wrote about about the FLIR ONE, an iPhone attachment that gives the user the distinct ability to see the heat signatures of the world—just like all the spies and paramilitary organizations you've seen in the movies. For $349, FLIR would combine its sensor with your camera's to get a decent resolution picture of the warmth and cold around you.

Fast-forward to, well, today, and these guys have undercut FLIR by $150. Seek Thermal makes this technology even more attainable, and does so with a higher resolution image that doesn't need your iPhone's camera to help.

After a few years of development—in partnership with Raytheon, so they have some serious street cred—Seek Thermal has finally been able to get the price of the imaging sensor to something reasonable. Housed in a tiny attachment that sticks into the bottom of your iPhone or Android, Seek has a 206 x 156 array of pixels giving you plenty of resolution.

Why would you need a thermal imaging camera? In the picture above, it's pitch black and no one can see the dog. But with thermal imaging, you can see in the dark. That's pretty huge, and has as many applications as your imagination can conjure up.

Besides simply being a new way to examine the world—you can see fresh barefoot footsteps that otherwise would be invisible, for instance—Seek is a pretty compelling DIY solution. Got a blockage in a pipe? You can see where it is. Want to save energy? Look around the room with Seek and you'll see all the warm power-strips that are killing the environment.

We've been playing with Seek for a few days now; every day more ideas come to mind. It can give you actual temperature readouts, go from rainbow to black-and-white mode, and share easily to social media. The app is new and will doubtless evolve to include even cooler stuff, but for now we're pretty psyched on all this.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressror. He can now see in the darkFollow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.