Flir has created an iPhone case that adds a heat-vision camera to your iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S.
The Flir One case, due out in July, features thermal and imaging sensors which create a heat image of the world on the iPhone screen. It does this by converting infrared energy into an electronic signal which is then processed. The result is the ability to see heat allowing users to see in the dark.
So what can this be used for? Apart from the obvious fun like finding people hiding in the dark it's also a useful tool. It could be used to detect heat loss around the home, for example. Or as a way to find damp which can't be seen with the naked eye. For someone going home at night it can act as a night-vision lens so no would-be muggers can hide in the dark unseen.
Another future use of this technology is thermal touch recognition. This is being worked on right now by augmented reality company Metaio who sees it as a way of recognising touch on real world objects. It works by detecting the subtle heat change on an object after it’s been touched. Once we're all wearing head mounted displays this could be a great way of allowing us to touch real world objects to activate virtual information. Like touching a band's poster to hear a sample of their new single, for example.
While the applications of this technology is still in its infancy the thermal imagine smarts are almost here. Anyone with an iPhone 5 or 5S can buy a FLir One case from July for $350. Flir has also sent the tech out to phone manufacturers so we may see it built-in on future smartphones.