Thermal imaging has been used in military applications for decades, and lately it’s found new uses in construction, engineering, and medicine, among others. Applications in healthcare includesensing locations of brown fat, our body’s “bad fat,” and for performing touch and radiation-free breast exams. There could be a lot more uses for such technology if it was portable enough, such as characterization of wounds and for spotting sites of inflammation.
Now FLIR, a company that’s been in the business of infrared thermal imaging for decades, is releasing an iPhone case that offers IR imaging in just about any situation. The device includes an infrared camera that’s positioned next to a standard visual one. By using the matching app, the user can see the thermal image overlayed on top of the visual one, together providing the scene and helping spot the heat sources within it. Because of its small size, we expect at least some curious clinicians to grab one for their iPhone 5 or 5s and investigate its potential in medicine. We’ll be looking forward to any interesting reports so we can pass those on to our readers.