For most ghost hunters, the Holy Grail of ghost hunting equipment is the thermal imaging camera. They’re flashy, technical, colorful, and popular, but very few groups have one. Why? Because they’re insanely expensive. Many fire departments have them (for obvious reasons) and home inspectors use them as well, but it’s usually hard for a paranormal team to justify the cost. Or to simply come up with the funds to cover a camera that is used mainly for a not-for-profit venture. But now, FLIR, the leading manufacturer of thermal imaging cameras, has announced a new FLIR smartphone case that will adapt a plain old iPhone into a thermal imager.
Right off the bat, I can think of two types of people who might be interested in a $350 case that turns the iPhone camera into a thermal imaging camera: ghost hunters and home inspectors. And if you’re a home inspector who moonlights as a ghost hunter, well here’s your next purchase.
While big-boy thermal imaging cameras can cost thousands, FLIR has shrewdly concluded that maybe not everybody has deep pockets and maybe having a pocketable thermal imaging camera with you at all times would be kind of cool.
The FLIR One case leverages a special app to grab heat signatures and detect temperatures, and what you see on the screen can be captured as photos and video just like you’re using the iPhone’s built-in camera app.
The case itself doesn’t add too, too much bulk considering the functionality it adds, and it doubles as a backup battery if your iPhone battery runs low. A FLIR rep told me the battery pack will last four hours for powering the thermal camera, or you can re-route the power to your iPhone instead.
Look for this in the spring. There will be Android options available closer to the end of the year, too.
Normally, I’m suspicious of any app that claims to be able to do more than the iPhone (or Android, if you prefer) was initially intended to do. But FLIR is an established company, and the case isn’t selling for .99 on the App Store. It will be interesting to see how popular this FLIR smartphone case becomes and the results that people get from it.