Introduction: Thermal Imaging Phone Camera

I have a 100 year old house that can be drafty and hard to heat in the winter. I have been wanting a thermal imaging camera to help find leaks ever since we bought this house. So I finally just made my own.The temperature readings are overlaid onto the phone's camera display. The display is adjustable for different temperature ranges and can show the numeric reading for every zone or just 1.

No, it is not as nice as the $2000 - $10,000 cameras but it is good enough for most things you need a thermal imaging camera for and it is also rather fun to play with too. 

I would like to make and sell these so others like me can save money and energy. I should be able to manufacture and sell them for around $150. The software for iPhones is ready, the Android software will be available soon. This is also going to be an Open Source Hardware project so if you want to make your own that is fine too. 

Andy Rawson
RH Workshop

UPDATE: The Kickstarter is now live!


RobHopeless made it! (author)2012-12-14

Hey everyone the kickstarter is going on now. Please check it out and support us if you like it. Thanks!

RobHopeless made it! (author)2012-09-06

I've posted the iPhone code, Arduino code and the board layout here if anyone is interested.

ntrider1991 made it! (author)2015-03-24

Pretty sure this project has been sold out to flir or some other big company as all info and sales of this item diapered a few years ago and new product from big company flir now exists this is not open source anymore

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2015-03-31

Or you could just click the link in the 2 year old comment right above that says:

"I've posted the iPhone code, Arduino code and the board layout here if anyone is interested."


xtreker15 made it! (author)2015-02-08

Didn't you say this project was going to be part of Open Source Hardware?

JeffroJ1 made it! (author)2014-10-11

I'm very interested in this as I've been wanting/looking for a good working decent Thermal Vision Cam, but their soo expensive. I'd really like to know more about this product. I can sell many of them if they are decent and as cost efficient as I read. I believe you have my email, I'd really like some more info on this. Thanks,

CraigD1 made it! (author)2014-08-06

How you guys are matched to devices such as Therm-App ( that offer a better resolution and a price tag of below $1000?

oldmanhc made it! (author)2013-01-20

I will buy 1 ASAP and can get u a ton more orders for them - can you contact me at


ghostbiker13 made it! (author)2013-01-07

i would love to buy one of these or have the schematics please.

soldeerbout made it! (author)2012-12-08

hello Andy, can you tell me ,this Thermal imaging camera is al building ,ready, or sell.
thank you , manny greating from holland.

soldeerbout made it! (author)2012-12-07

y, take 1pleas.
tank you.

amdv_5690 made it! (author)2012-12-05

I'll take 1 please.

soldeerbout made it! (author)2012-11-15

can i,m sell from you , so yes , what ist the price for this thermal imaging phone camera, or can y make.him self. thank you. Gerrit.

jdehors made it! (author)2012-10-26

I would like to buy one of these too. Any idea when you will have any for sale?

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2012-10-26

Almost ready for the Kickstarter, I'll post here when it is live.

fillibar made it! (author)fillibar2012-11-12

This is awesome. I also am a big supporter of Kickstarter projects so I definitely want to see yours going soon. I hope the expected delivery is soon though... being able to use it this winter would be very beneficial.

jdehors made it! (author)jdehors2012-10-26

oops, just noticed your comment saying by the end of the month. I just bought a house and want to use it for the same reason as you.

UtahAerials made it! (author)2012-11-12

AWESOME! I was seriously considering putting down $1500+ to get a thermal camera that would have been total overkill. I will be picking one of these up when they are available. My only thing is whether I can wait, I'm tempted to grab the sensor and roll my own for now if it's going to take very long to get through the kickstarter-funding-developing-producing-delivering cycle. Great find on that sensor, and good looking app too. +1 to Android support. Btw, you're using wifi for easier compatability with iPhone users right? You could use BT on Android and make it a little cheaper, no?

edictor made it! (author)2012-09-05

Can you "Kickstart" this please??


edictor made it! (author)edictor2012-09-05

And uhm.. Since this works with an Iphone, I'd imagine it would work with an Ipad as well??

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2012-09-05

I'm putting together a Kickstarter as I get the design finished but the Jack Daniel's prize would help a lot. :-)
Yes it will work with the Ipad.

mgrundvig made it! (author)mgrundvig2012-11-12

Count me in on the Kickstarter when you go live with it. Please make sure you update your blog with the Kickstarter details as that's how I'm following progress on this. Thanks!

edictor made it! (author)edictor2012-09-05

You're a gem! Fingers crossed for you for that prize!
Thanks for making this open source.
As soon as you're making the Iphone code available, we'll be trying to build this ourselves. Or perhaps just ordering one off Kickstarter of course!


wbirchall made it! (author)2012-11-09

How does the device communicate with the iphone?

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2012-11-09

The version in the video used wifi. The new one that is almost ready is using Bluetooth 4.0

wildfire503 made it! (author)2012-10-05

Do you have any for sale yet? I am very interested in working with one of these!

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2012-10-05

I am working on it full time, I hope to have a Kickstarter up by the end of the month.

reverendjeffy made it! (author)2012-09-10

I can't wait to see the Android code for this. In the middle of an infrared camera project a few weeks ago, I was saying to myself, "How can I prolong this project? What about a thermal imager?" Thank god you've come along, thereby ensuring that I will never finish this current project.

dbglue made it! (author)2012-09-08

I would like to be able to buy in in eBay or Amazon.

Thank you!

svelazquez diaz made it! (author)2012-09-07

Nice project... I wonder how would I be able to buy the camera since I live in Guadalajara, Mexico

turbonegro made it! (author)2012-09-07

This has been one of my dreams for a long time
If an sgs3 android version becomes available ill definitely get it no matter what
Like some earlier poster said it would be useful in cold Sweden where i also live
Since i breed chameleons/use lipo batteries and R/C stuff/am a houseowner
Theres no end to the uses
Many people dont see that Its useful for a lot of things
I have one of those pointer thingys but its pretty lame
My only gripe is the resolution but hey were talking 150 bucks here

dansan101 made it! (author)2012-09-07

Good on you for making this open source! this is great!

ffrisell made it! (author)2012-09-06

This is a very useful thing to have-especially in colder countries like Sweden. Would be easy to spot any cold draughts or heat leaks!

Dy7lan made it! (author)2012-09-06

You, sir, are amazing!!! This is such a fantastic idea. I can't wait for the android software to become available.

makendo made it! (author)2012-09-05

Looks great. Good luck!

milindchitale made it! (author)2012-09-05

Dear Andy,

Great Job!
Excellent Concept, because many times, we as technical minds, need just enough information as necessary for the moment. I think a complete thermal imaging would be over the top for that. However, the way you have depicted the application and hardware in the video, is one of the finest balance of Geek and Finesse I have seen for some time!!!

Keep it up, and yes I will try to make one myself too, from your opensource project of course.


wildfire503 made it! (author)2012-09-05

Very cool! How do you align the sensor FOV to the camera FOV - just find a hot point source?

RobHopeless made it! (author)RobHopeless2012-09-05

The way I have it setup right now on the breadboard yes. The PCB and case I am making will make sure it is aligned.

flyingpuppy made it! (author)2012-09-05

Very practical idea that'll help save money beyond the original camera.

epinto made it! (author)2012-09-05

What a great idea! I signed up to the site *just* to watch your progress :)

alekxsander made it! (author)2012-09-05

Man, i am very excited about you project thx!

Honus made it! (author)2012-09-04

Very, very cool.

fungus amungus made it! (author)2012-09-04

As someone who has pointed a thermal reader at many things in my house, this would've saved a lot of time.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am Andy Rawson and I make things. I usually end up making things that are expensive to otherwise obtain. Like a Stereolithography 3D Printer ... More »
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