Source: Seek Thermal
Our phones continue to become ever more amazing devices with the addition of third party hardware.
Last April I told you about Scio, a personal spectrometer that I can't resist referring to as a Tricorder. Scio was a Kickstarter project and I'm still waiting to get my geeky mitts on mine.
And now here's another awesome sounding gizmo for your phone: an IR camera. Seek Thermal is selling a small camera that plugs into your iPhone or Android device (there're two versions, one for each platform) and turns it into a thermal camera (for still shots or video).
The only downside is that it's $199 which is a fair price considering how much thermal cameras cost, but is a lot for something that you probably won't use that often. For comparison sake, FLIR makes a thermal camera for the iPhone 5 & 5s that costs $349 (and the iPhone snaps into it so it can only be used with these models) while stand-alone models like the FLIR E4 or Fluke FLK-VT02 start at $500-$1000 and go up from there.
But assuming your wallet can take the hit, what a cool gadget to have. Seek Thermal offers practical applications like identifying where the clog is in a pipe, and of course personal security (which I'm not downplaying; $200 to know there's someone is laying in wait in the dark could be a real bargain). Me, I'd be looking for nocturnal critters climbing around in the trees at night.
I also wonder if it could be used in the kitchen to determine temperatures. Whenever I read an article on how to brew the perfect cup of coffee/tea I wonder if anyone really gets out a thermometer to determine how hot their water is. Maybe the Seek can do that for you (it'll apparently display the hottest or coldest temperatures in an image).
And then of course there are the ghost hunting applications!
Katherine Boehret over at Re/Code was lucky enough to get some hands-on time with a Seek and you can head over there to read her thoughts if you're considering a purchase. I wish I could justify getting one!
Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.