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What is IR Thermography?

Thermography is a technology that actually allows us to see thermal energy or heat! If you saw the movie "Predator" or "Predator 2", you saw real infrared video footage! Thermography can be used in any circumstance where the identification of thermal patterns can be used to find something (such as a missing person) or diagnose a condition (such as a poor electrical connection). If you think about all the heat related activities in our lives, you will see the application possibilities are huge!

Visible light
Rainbow palette
Ironbow palette

Visible photograph and two infrared thermograms, one with a rainbow palette and the other with an ironbow palette.

Infrared thermography has been in the news recently because of its ability to detect and display a thermal map of peoples' heads in a few seconds. Doing this can provide a screening function for SARS, as one of the symptoms is a fever.

Infrared thermal imaging is also used to locate victims in fires by firefighters. Black smoke makes finding your way through a burning building virtually impossible. Firefighters use infrared imaging to be able to see through the smoke to find and rescue trapped or disabled victims.

See our IR Primer for more information and answers to common questions about thermography and infrared. See the image gallery for more thermal images and applications.