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Flir debuts its Duo thermal camera for drones at CES 2017

The Flir Duo and Duo R are two GoPro-sized thermal cameras designed to be used on drones.

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Patrick Holland
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Patrick Holland

Senior Editor

Patrick Holland has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing and fast-paced world of phones. He also is one of the hosts of CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast.

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Flir has been making thermal imaging devices since the late-70's. In recent years, the company added its technology to smartphones and smartphone accessories. And this week at CES 2017, Flir showed off another adaptation of its technology: a thermal camera for drones called the Duo.

The Duo is tiny -- about the size of a GoPro. It has two cameras: one a 1080-pixel HD camera, and the other a thermal-imaging camera. The thermal images represents heat in form of colors -- orange is hot, blue is cool. You can easily switch between cameras, but the real magic comes when you use the combined mode. This overlays details from the HD camera onto the thermal photograph. It makes for a very sharp thermal image.

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While there are many cameras capable of being used on drones, the Duo is the first thermal camera to be designed for such a purpose.

Patrick Holland/CNET

Such cameras can be used in a variety of manners: flying over farm property checking irrigation piping, finding lost animals, checking solar arrays for hot spots, or recreating scenes from the film "Predator."

The Duo is aimed at consumers for commercial use. But there is a second Duo camera called the Duo R targeted for professional use. (The "R" stands for radiometric.) This allows pros to get accurate temperature readings from individual pixels of a thermal image.

Because of its Go-Pro-like form factor, the Duo cameras can be used on any drone that can mount a GoPro. However, Flir has teamed up with the company Autel -- for non-Autel drones, you have to use the Flir UAS app.

The Duo costs $999 (which converts to £820 and AU$1,365) while the Duo R is $1,299 (which works out to £1,065 and AU$1,775) Both are available for purchase now.

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