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The DIY Cheapo Thermocam

While filming Catch It Keep It and Rock and Roll Acid Test, we had a couple segments that were very heat-dependent. The scenes needed a way to show the temperature and changes of the stuff we were researching (one scene, frozen steaks; another scene, women’s panties–I know, classy). We used Flir B50 thermal imaging cameras which capture a real-time, “Predator”-style visualization of the temperatures of the area it is pointed at. I didn’t realize at the time that these cameras cost thousands of dollars.

If you want to recreate the same effect but don’t need the immediate, live visual, here’s an easy build to create your own at a fraction of the cost, using a basic infrared thermometer, a webcam, and an arduino.

The whole how-to can be found here.


From sparkfun.com:
– Pan/Tilt Bracket $5.95
– Servo – Small $8.95
– Servo – Medium $10.95
– optional: Laser Card Module – Red $7.95
– optional: ProtoBoard – Square 1″ Double Sided – $2.50
From futureelectronics.com:
– MLX90614ESF-DCI $34.64
– 2 x 4.7kOhm Resistor $0.06
From seeedstudio.com
– Harness for Arduino/Seeeduino kit $6.50
– Seeeduino V2.21 (Atmega 168P) $19.00 (or any other Arduino)
From amazon.com (or another retailer):
– Microsoft LifeCam VX-700 $7.49  (as far as you dont’t have a comparable webcam yet)
What you also need but most likely already have at home:
Cables, Soldering Iron, Wire Cutter, Heat Shrink Tube, Tape, USB Cable for Arduino
All the parts in this list cost together 104$, but if you already have an arduino or a webcam for example it’s a lot cheaper