When you're digging for CES gold, you can usually ignore about 99.99 per cent of the iPhone accessories announced at the show. But in that last 0.01 per cent is where you can find some real treasures. This year, FLIR has managed to shrink the same thermal imaging technology it sells to law enforcement and the military so that it fits inside an iPhone 5 case — letting us civilians share in the fun too.
Available sometime later this year, the FLIR thermal imaging smartphone case will initially be available for the iPhone 5 and 5s and will cost $US350. It features a built-in battery that will power the pair of cameras it relies on for up to two hours, and can also be used to charge your phone when you're not searching the forests for wild animals.
Why two cameras instead of one? While one is generating the actual thermal image, the other is a standard camera lens that the FLIR app uses to generate and overlay outlines so that it's easier to recognise humans, objects, and even text. That's apparently a first when it comes to FLIR cameras, and it's designed to make it easier for regular consumers to tell what they're looking at.
Everything works in real time, and while the case adds a bit of chunkyness to your svelte handset, it's a minor trade off for awesome Predator-like heat vision. And while the iPhone 5 version of the FLIR case will lead the charge, the company is working on Android version as well that will support the most popular handsets in that market. [FLIR]