Mu aims to offer thermal imaging cam for cheap

Thermal imaging cameras usually cost more than a thousand bucks, but an upcoming device could give more people access to the all-seeing temperature detection tech for far less.

With assistance from an adhesive polymer, the Mu Thermal Imager attaches to a smartphone or tablet. Mu Optics

When you own an older home, it's common for aging insulation, warped windowsills, and other pesky problems to let the cool or hot air out and drive the energy bill up. To help homeowners locate these weak spots (and for many other uses), Mu Optics created a low-cost thermal imaging camera that allows users to see the world according to temperature -- anywhere in the range of -86 to 285 degrees Fahrenheit.

The thermal imaging device features USB charging and battery life of more than 3 hours (an hour for video recording). The optics offer 160x120 resolution -- which may sound very small, but most thermal cameras deliver a similar view -- for pictures and video up to 30 frames per second.

Five live viewing modes enable the owner to see things such as temperature information for a specific area, a thermal and regular camera view blend, and other combinations. Check out some of the neat thermal videos produced by the camera on Vimeo.

One of the many thermal views available with the Mu Thermal Imager. Owners can share thermal photos and video through e-mail and SMS. Mu Optics

The Mu Thermal Camera can directly attach to a smartphone, or work with a tablet, laptop, and desktop. Mu plans to offer iPhone and Android apps that enable direct smartphone control of the camera, as well as open-source components and APIs for developers.

At the time of this posting, Mu has raised a little over $40,000 of its $200,000 goal on crowdfunding Web site Indiegogo. As an early-adopter option, Mu offers the thermal imager for $150, a good deal compared with the estimated $325 retail price. The company expects to ship the product in May regardless of whether it meets its funding goal on Indiegogo.

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