Back in 2014, FLIR brought the same thermal imaging technology used by law enforcement and militaries to consumers through an accessory that gave iPhones heat-sensing Predator-vision. The latest version, the new FLIR One Edge Pro, no longer requires a physical connection to a mobile device, and it works equally well with both iPhones and Android smartphones and tablets.
FLIR’s first attempt to upgrade smartphones with thermal imaging arrived in the form of a full-on case for the iPhone 5 and 5s with its own rechargeable battery and a pair of cameras allowing it to blend live photography with thermal imagery making it easier for novice users to understand what they were seeing.
It was undoubtedly cool, but the $350 price tag was a tough sell because no one was able to use the case-only accessory with future versions of the iPhone that changed the design just enough to require a completely different case, and Android users were completely left out of the fun.
A year later, FLIR redesigned the accessory as a small pod that attached to the bottom of a smartphone through its charging port. The new FLIR One would not only work with future versions of the iPhone that had a Lightning port (even the most recent models) but a version was also introduced with a microUSB connector for Android devices.
There’s now a third-generation version of the FLIR One with both Apple Lightning and USB-C port compatibility, as well as an adjustable connector that can accommodate smartphones trapped inside a bulky case, but to date it remained a device that required a physical connection to a smartphone, which can often be problematic, depending on where you’re trying to point the camera. To solve that, Teledyne FLIR announced today that the new One Edge Pro, which is still smartphone-dependent but can be used separately up to nearly 100 feet away.
The FLIR One Edge Pro features a self-contained design again, but instead of connecting to a mobile device’s charging port, it attaches using an adjustable spring-loaded clamping mechanism that expands large enough to grab onto even the beefiest of smartphones, and even tablets.
With a lack of a physical connection to a device, the FLIR One Edge Pro instead relies on a combination of wifi and Bluetooth to stream live thermal camera footage through a free accompanying mobile app, at distances of almost 100 feet away. Users can hold the thermal camera in one hand, making it easier to position or squeeze it into hard-t0-reach places, while seeing the results on the screen of a mobile device in their other hand. The FLIR One Edge Pro’s adjustable clamp can also be used as a hanging hook, for users who need to mount it and monitor temperature changes of a target over time.
The FLIR One Edge Pro’s built-in rechargeable battery is good for about 90 minutes of use, and while it can be connected to an external battery to extend that even further, its 160×120 resolution radiometric Lepton thermal imaging sensor, which can measure temperatures as hot as 752-degrees Fahrenheit, isn’t designed to operate for hours on end. So strapping it to a tree and turning the One Edge Pro into a thermal imaging trail camera isn’t the best idea.
Unlike the rest of the FLIR One lineup which includes options that range in price from $230 to $450 depending on the features and capabilities a user needs, the new FLIR One Edge Pro is the most expensive option yet, targeted at professional users with a $550 price tag when it goes on sale today.