The ability to take high quality photos is a given when it comes to the latest smartphones. But what about being able to seek out heat, Terminator-style, via your handset? Can’t say I’ve spotted that in many spec sheets. But it is now possible, thanks to Seek Thermal — a plug-in-and-play thermal imaging camera made specifically for smartphones.
The Seek looks pretty big for a plug-in accessory, but not so much when you consider what’s inside that self-contained unit. Behind the lens is a 12-micron sensor chip, which converts the temperature reading of its 32,000 pixels into human-compatible colors. The whole thing plugs into any modern Android or iOS device (MiniUSB and Lightning versions are available), and feeds a thermal view of your surroundings to your phone’s screen via the accompanying Seek Thermal app. At 832 x 624 after upscaling, the resolution is decent, too.
Cool tech (excuse the pun), certainly, but what practical purpose does it serve? Quite apart from the fun of following people’s heat-signature tracks — which are left on pretty much everything they have touched — sensing heat can help you find things in the dark, and diagnose things like drains blockages and car engine issues. And it lets you childishly amuse yourself by making invisible orange handprints on everything/everyone.
The only major thing to bear in mind with the Seek Thermal is that it will set you back $199. At that kind of price, I guess it is aimed at folks with a serious use-case for the camera, but it’s still remarkably affordable when you consider the kit involved — the sensor chip was even developed specifically for this device. So I would just recommend finding a legitimate reason to get one, and then use it for the fun stuff anyway.
For more info, check out the official website.