DIY thermal imaging with the Arduino Nano

Many of us have undoubtedly coveted thermal imaging cameras at least once, especially after watching a sci-fi movie or two.

As HackADay’s Brian Benchoff notes, thermal imaging cameras can be an invaluable and practical tool if you are trying to figure just where your latest electronics project will explode/implode next, or attempting to locate a near invisible (and annoying) crack in a glass window.

Fortunately, a Maker by the name of Kaptein QK recently came up with an inexpensive and relatively easy method of making your own thermal imaging camera.

“Kaptein based his camera off of a non-contact IR temperature gun. This device is useful for spot checking temperatures, but can’t produce an IR image like it’s $1000 cousins,” explained Benchoff.

“By taking the thermopile out of this temperature gun, adding an op-amp, an A/D converter, and connecting it to an Arduino Nano (ATmega328) with pan and tilt servos, Kaptein was able to slowly scan the thermopile over a scene and generate an image.”

Although Kaptein’s DIY camera works quite well at this stage, the Maker will likely make additional improvements to the platform in the future.

“[For example], getting rid of the servos and moving to mirrors would hopefully speed everything up, [while] replacing the 8-bit grayscale display with colors would give a vastly improved dynamic range,” Benchoff added.

Interested in learning more about building a DIY thermal imaging with an Atmel-based Arduino Nano? You can check out Kaptein’s forum post here for additional details.

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