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The Critical Eye!

Michael Leavitt’s professional inspection related blog.

Sub $325 Thermal Imager - This is not a joke!

Sub $325 Thermal Imager - This is not a joke!

b2ap3_thumbnail_1Michael_Leavitt_160.jpgAs a gadget guy I was pleased to come across this soon to be released thermal imager that will retail for just $325. Of course it is not to be compared with $10,000 to $50,000 self contained thermal imaging cameras, but from the specs shared below I would easily compare it with the sub $4,000 models. What’s the catch? Well it is worthless without a phone or tablet since they are the brains and the brawn of the IR process. That’s right, it runs off either an iOS or Android app and plugs into either the phone or tablet via the mini USB port.

So why do I think this is a viable solution? Well the resolution is equivalent to the lesser model cameras, but there are future goals of increasing the resolution. But I think this is a gadget that you could easily bring with you into crawlspaces and attics, a place you would never consider bringing a $10,000 model. If I were an inspector wanting IR for normal home inspections, then this looks to be perfect for the task. And even if you are equipped as an IR firm, the price of this gadget is almost equivalent to a throw away tool. This makes it useful for the IR professional as well as the newbie home inspector.

NOTE: I have blocked out all references to brand names to let you evaluate it at face value. Look at the pictures and look at the specs and see if you can find any viable holes in the information. I was most impressed with the overlay feature and the ability to record either stills or videos, depending on your memory in the phone/tablet.


The XXXXXXX Thermal Imager

The XXXXXX Thermal Imager is the first affordable thermal imager with the resolution and software capabilities to make it useful to DIY homeowners as well as construction professionals. Technology originally developed for industrial use can now be readily available to you as an accessory for your smartphone, tablet, laptop and computer.  With the ease of use of a smart phone app but with enough visual clarity (19,200 pixels), accompanying information, and functionality to enable the user to make wise choices concerning their homes.

Up to now, cameras of this quality have cost anywhere from $2,000 to $22,000, and up to $150 a day to rent.  

Our intent is to get the retail price of the XXXXXX Thermal Imager below $325 initially and with enough orders from the big box retailers we think we may even cut that down to $200 or less.

We've heard from Realtors, house inspectors, farmers, contractors, firemen, building maintenance staff, medical practitioners, plumbers, pilots, electricians, insurance companies, parts manufacturers, OEMs, oil field hands, and many more professions that all believe that this product could assist them in their day-to-day lives.  

Our funding goal is high, a mistake on my part as it may leave people with the concern that we won't be able to deliver the Thermal Imager if we don't hit that goal.  I was more concerned that people would not continue to consider purchasing a perk if we went over the funding request.  

We have various venture capital options open to us to fund the project through to completion.  The VC people are hard on our behinds to get this product in the market.  The idea for the XXXXXX campaign came to us from one of the VC people; suggested as a means to retain a greater share of equity in our company during the earlier days of design and prototyping.   So...regardless of meeting our goal here or not, the XXXXXX Optics Thermal Imager is coming to market and all the early adopters and XXXXXX supporters will definitely see their purchases delivered.  These XXXXXX purchases are not devices we expect to make a profit on, our profits will come when we see the the XXXXXX Optics Thermal Imager in the Big Box stores we intend on selling through.  We are working through the final evaluation of three image arrays to ensure quality levels, reliability, and cost.  We are under NDA's with a number of our parts suppliers and need to respect those agreements.  Our optics path is also something we believe is unique and is part of what makes our device affordable.

What we hear from so many suppliers and potential clients is the realization of the potential for these devices.  

Also, I promise I'll not get off the phone with UPS until I have shipping rates for everyone.  



Our camera sees in the infrared spectrum of 7 to 14 micrometers which allows you to "see" the temperature of most anything in the range of -86 to 285 degrees Fahrenheit (-66 to 140 Celcius).

You'll be able to identify heating and cooling losses in your home and business, find lost pets in the dark, know just how cold your children's toes are when they ask you to turn up the heat, etc.  At home you can educate your family on ways in which they can stop energy losses due to their bad habits (such as leaving on a bathroom vent for longer than necessary). It’s a great tool for the DIY homeowner as they look for overworked electrical circuits and check the water heater and ductwork for energy leaks.  

In construction or renovation of buildings you'll be able to identify poorly insulated areas and badly wired electrical outlets before you put the drywall up. You'll find places where water has penetrated the structure where it should not have. Identifying mold and moisture is a much easier task with the Mµ Thermal Imager.

We can't wait to see what people will do with it.  How people use the XXXXXX Thermal Imager is something were not certain of yet, but we know that very quickly we'll find out just how useful it is.  How easy it is to find an pet in the dark, or to elevate hide and seek to another level!


Our software allows for:

    Ease of operation - all functionality is through the touchscreen on a smartphone or tablet or a mouse on a computer.
    Still image capture - high resolution of 160x120
    H.264 Video recording -  no time limits beyond your device's memory limitations
    Selection of specific points for temperature information - Zoom window for pin point accuracy.


    Blending of regular images with the thermal images for better views of what you're seeing - sometimes it's easier to tell what you're looking at when the IR image is blended with the regular video


    Split screens between between both images - again, letting you know exactly what your seeing.


Gradient Overlays


      Selection of Farenhiet or Celcius.
    Crosshair - for pin-point accuracy


        Charges via USB - use the same charger you use for your mobile device.
        Long battery life between charges - all processing is done on the computing device so we expect more than an hour of record time between charges.
        Lightweight-no heavy lens to balance
        Focus free from 1.5 feet to infinity


Our goals with the camera and the software are simple at this point.  First, make it capable, easy to use, and affordable.  First, download the App from the app store of your device.  After attaching the XXXXXX thermal Imager to your smartphone or tablet via an adhesive polymer (that peels off without leaving a residue), you connect via USB to the base of the Smartphone (or tablet, etc.) the user will start the application just as they do with any app, with a finger touch to the app icon. At that point the screen will fill with the live video thermal image from the camera.  The image resolution is 160x120 (the images here are not yet fully optimized and will be much improved on the final product), and is more than sufficient to determine hot and cold spots via the color scale.  It is possible, but we don't want to promise this, that the camera will have a simple manual zoom (better image quality than a digital zoom).  Version Two will definitely include higher resolutions and include the ability to turn the image recorder on based on motion sensors.  

 Why we made the XXXXXX Thermal Imager.

The median age of an American home is 36 years old.  To call an North American home a bit of sieve when it comes to energy efficiency is not a stretch; and the same is true most everywhere in the world. homeowners lose billions of dollars every year through heating and cooling losses due to poor insulation, old windows, and even just leaving your kitchen exhaust fan on longer than you need to.  You'll be able to see all these losses (and teach your children about them).   Go to to learn even more about what you can do with a thermal imaging camera.
 Open Source

The XXXXXX Thermal Imager will be released with full output documentation, meaning that you can write your own software to readout the video stream. We will also be releasing a modification toolset that will allow you to create your own thermal color palletes and overlays which can be installed into our software, letting you customize your Infrared photos and videos. In addition, The camera software will be released with many open source components as well as a robust api allowing you to tinker with the software and the camera itself. Create your own firmware updates, tweak the behavior of the camera for higher frame rates, and write your own custom smartphone or desktop apps to readout and manipulate the data from the imager.  

What Lies Ahead

We've been in development now for a few months or so on the hardware and software.  It's a relatively simple device with few parts but some amazing optics.   The next task, and we're well along the way to finishing it, is to make the device smartphone, tablet, computer, and laptop ready in both functionality and size.  

The funds we're seeking will pay for the final development and packaging of XXXXXX Thermal Imager, the hiring of a worldwide sales consultancy to sell XXXXXX Thermal Imager’s through to the hardware stores, heating and cooling companies, and insulation companies.  We're also in the midst of finalizing our website which will train people in all the different ways in which thermal images can make for a healthier and lower cost home, videos from existing users and, of course, we need to place the first significant order for the parts, manufacturing, and distribution.  We have found significant interest in the XXXXXX Thermal Imager from the big box hardware stores and from insulation manufacturers that we may bundle the XXXXXX Thermal Imager with.  

We hope you'll help us get past this critical juncture in our product development and we promise to work as hard as we can to make it happen as quickly as possible. Our funding request will get XXXXXX Thermal Imager into the stores; however, the more funds we raise the lower we can drive our costs, and ultimately the price of the imager.   We’d love to raise enough to make an order for the electronics and optics necessary that will allow us to sell the imager for less than $325.  So....please, even if you see us reach our goal, consider making a contribution anyway, you’ll get the XXXXXX Thermal Imager at a great discount and help drive down the cost for all the contributors.

Thank you so much for reading this if you got this far.



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