The new FLIR ONE is a product I have been keeping my eye on for a while now. It's a new thermal imaging camera that attaches directly to your smart phone, IOS, Android, and most tablets. The FLIR ONE is the second generation of the product and, this time around, it keeps all that was great about generation one and continues to improve upon it. Improved accuracy in a smaller package, more affordable, and support for third party apps means that this smart phone accessory has the potential to be and integral part of the construction managers tool belt.
The FLIR ONE accessory attachment for IOS and Android comes with two cameras: one that takes photos and videos and one that captures the thermal image. The app then takes the images from both of the cameras and combines them in order to make one detailed image that would otherwise be blurry if it was a standalone thermal image. The attachment can read temperature ranges from -4 degrees up to 120 degrees, which is enough range to determine temperature differentials between two objects in a typical building. It also comes with a separate battery, so you don't need to worry about it draining your smartphone's battery.
This technology finds immediate uses in the construction industry because it allows the Quality Control personnel to find issues before turning over a job and is helpful for the building's routine maintenance. Most areas above ceiling become hard to reach and inspect during punch list or even earlier in a project. By using this system, the user can detect deficiencies without having to crawl through ceiling grid and tight spaces. But, this system is not just for MEP contractors, it can be useful in other areas like concrete, caulking, and even to protect the men in the field from heat exhaustion.
For owners, this device could be an important tool for LEED accredited buildings. One of the key components to most LEED buildings is the insulation; identifying and sealing common areas where unconditioned air can infiltrate. The FLIR ONE allows you to quickly scan and identify these areas before the fix becomes overly expensive.
Did I mention that FLIR ONE will now accept third party apps!? This means apps like the one from Owens Corning, shown above, will be compatible to use with the FLIR ONE. It is yet to be seen just how useful these apps are as the app above appears to be just a new skin on the FLIR image and some helpful links to buy more insulation. However, given the growing app community there is the opportunity for some truly interesting and groundbreaking apps to become available, including a forthcoming Field Lens compatible app.
You can grab all this for your smartphone for around $250, which is not too much more than a good laser thermometer. The video below shows you a sample of what the camera can do and how easy it is to navigate.