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October 26, 2010
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John Rivera Technology Helpdesk
with John Rivera

P1 Tech Help: Thermal imagers that fit in your pocket

Thermal imagers detect the heat difference emitted by the object or person and the ambient temperature

Thermal imagers have been primarily used by the military, fire fighters and law enforcement for decades.

The military use is self explanatory. We have all seen war-time video in which bomb cameras use thermal imagery to find a target. Firefighters use them to rescue people by looking through smoke and walls.

Uses in law enforcement vary from finding possible indoor Marijuana grows to suspects hiding in a house or wooded area at night.

We all know that when something is newly developed, it is typically large in size. I’m sure many of you remember when cell phones were first made available to the public. They called them bricks for a reason.

The first computer took up several floors of office space. Now, even more advanced technologies exist in cellular phones that fit in your pocket.

When first developed, thermal imagers were also very large and cumbersome to use and carry around. Now they pocket-sized as well. Thermal imagers detect the heat difference emitted by the object or person and the ambient temperature.

Several manufacturers offer these portable thermal imagers. They can be placed in your pocket or in a small pouch attached to a load-bearing vest or in a shirt pocket.

I contacted an officer from the local navy base who uses a Thermal Eye X 200XP to scan the navy base perimeter. He showed me the X 200XP and I noticed it is shaped similar to a pair of small binoculars and does fit in a pocket. It functions simply and can expose a targeted image from several miles away. It detects footprints and other heat-generating objects with excellent clarity.

I researched this product and found that there is a version that can take video images as well as photo type images, both of which can be downloaded to a computer. I was impressed with its rugged design and the fact that it’s powered by two double “A” batteries.

Some imagers I’ve used are quite large and have a small screen that can be difficult to focus on. The X 200XP has a monocle type sight and has the ability to adjust the focus.

Intelligent Imaging and of course FLIR are only two of the many companies that offer a product similar in size but have other features not offered in the X 200XP.

The price for the X 200XP and other thermal imagers is around $4,000, but as I have mentioned in previous articles, technology always offered at a high price will eventually become affordable.

In this economy, many agencies are cutting training or buying much-needed equipment. If your department is looking to purchase one of these imagers, look to grants. You may be available to offset the cost of this tool.

Until next month. Stay Safe.

 

About the author

John Rivera is a Patrol Officer with the Bremerton Police Department. John’s career BPD started as a Volunteer Reserve Officer and while he volunteered his time as a reserve officer he work as Police Officer at Naval Base Kitsap. He was hired full time in 2006 and attended the Washington State Police Academy. While at the academy, John was selected as the class “Techy” to help with the technologically deficient class instructors. Before John’s law enforcement career, he gained his computer experience through earning a degree in Computer Programming and then working in the computer industry as a Network Administrator and Systems Engineer for several companies.

Contact John Rivera

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