Infrared (IR) Camera For Your Android?

Image: Wired

Our friends at DARPA recently sent out a solicitation for the development of “wafer-sized thermal imagery sensors and optics” small enough to fit in your android handset. It seems their goal is to put an IR enabled mobile device in the hands of every soldier in the field, allowing them to not only spot people at night, but to also determine whether that person is a threat.

DARPA seems to think an IR sensor with this capability is something you’d want on your handset (or tablet). We’d like to hear from you. Do you want an IR sensor on your android? How would you use it?

  • Mike

    Yes, I’d like it, reason? Pics at night, and amateur films with the wife.

    • Jonathan Seymour

      EXACTLY MIKE!!!! NICE!!!

  • Heck, yeah!

    If you had a second away-facing camera on your phone, and it was an IR sensor, you could do all kinds of great diagnostic stuff!

    – check your automobile engine for hot spots
    – find exhaust/coolant leaks in your car, home, industrial application
    – Check your child’s temperature from the doorway without having to wake them up at night.
    – check the temperature of objects from across the room.
    – check computer power supplies
    – check the temperature of all kinds of industrial equipment
    – inspect your home hot water plumbing through the walls for energy waste

    …. and that’s just the beginning.

    • Corry Robb

      Wow. Great ideas there Jody!

  • Mike #2

    I would love to have an IR emitter on the phone. I was just thinking the other day how easy it would be to create a universal remote application if only I could emit IR from my mobile…

  • Kevin

    Home efficiency-heat leaks
    Home inspection
    -mice in the wall
    -lack of insulation

    Night “kick the can” track footprints

    Way Cool!

  • Joe

    Might wanna do some more research on Thermal Imaging cameras before you post links to IR as the two are not the same.

  • Randy

    I’m not sure if it would help you spot enemies or not, but it would make it a lot easier for the enemy to spot you. There is a saying, “If it shines, kill it” for a reason…

  • Most likely, virtually all Android phones with cameras already ARE IR sensors.
    At least, in the “near” IR range.

    To test, pull up the camera application, point the business end of any IR remote control at the phone, and push some buttons on the remote. If the camera preview shows the flashing of the remote, your camera can “see” near-IR.

    Supposedly an exposed (i.e. completely black) piece of photographic film negative works as an IR-transparent blocker for visible light, enabling you to get an “IR” photograph from the camera in that case, but I haven’t tested that myself yet.

    • As far as I know, all cameras I’ve used could see IR from remotes, even the Gameboy Camera (had lots of fun with it back in the day). I also noticed certain black materials, like sort of a glossy cloth, appear almost white on camera, probably by reflecting IR.

  • chris

    +1 to Joe and Epicanis.

  • david

    Absolutely!!!!!!!!! The only other thing I would need would be Paris Hilton 😉

  • timmyjoe42

    I’d love this feature on my phone. Infra red cameras cost over $1000 for the cheapest ones. I’d use it for work to find building leaks for both water and energy. The only problem with putting it in a cheap consumer device for military use is that it would be just as easy for the other guys to acquire one too.

  • The introduction of this IR technology into a cell phone is inevitable, just look at how quick the cell phone has developed over the last decade to now incorporate multi-functional multi-media capabilities.

    With future possibilities and new applications for this technology being discovered every day, I personally can’t wait and hope it happens sooner rather than later!

  • Jane

    @Joe – luckily the technical request was to get LWIR working – which would include the apps listed above.

    And as far as “the other guys” getting the low-cost technology – right now the ITAR rules restrict the devices to 9Hz for export, so there’s got to be a lot more work done before its commercial… and not just technical…. sigh.

  • Rckstrfms311

    I was looking for one to use my phone as a thermal imaging camera so I didn’t need to purchase a separate camera for my ghost hunting hobby. Looks like I jumped the gun on this one. Hurry up with development already!!! I have places to go and dead people to see!

  • Midknight

    Place your thermal-enabled phone in a vehicle dock and use it to enhance night driving – being able to see animals or people on the side of the road, or IN the road, would be a huge benefit in reducing “automobile vs. A$” collisions.