Caterpillar Unveils Android S60 With Thermal Camera
The Bullitt Group in the UK has teamed up with Cat to design the first Android smartphone to feature a built-in thermal imaging camera. The thermal camera supplied by FLIR is capable of detecting heat and measuring temperatures from up to 100 feet away.
Cat says that the camera produces a live thermal image, measures surface temperatures, and can record both stills and video. The resolution is limited to VGA (640 x 480), but who really needs HD thermal imaging from their phone? Cat envisions the phone having use as a utility rather than for taking pictures to post on Facebook. Cat’s examples include search and rescue missions, where bodies might be obscured by smoke or foliage, and police checking tire temperatures.
The camera also has potential use around the house, as a tool to spot heat loss on the exterior of homes that would allow for easy targeting of problem areas. You could also use the camera find where the hot water is getting blocked in a complex set of pipes. Or, if you’re having a barbecue with some friends, you could check the gas left in a canister and the temperature of your burgers. What’s convenient about thermal imaging is that it requires no light whatsoever to take pictures, as it works purely off of infrared heat energy. This could allow for people who need to see in the dark to do so without needing any additional light whatsoever.
Cat didn’t just make a thermal imaging enabled phone: it’s been ruggedized in many other ways. First, it’s waterproof up to 16 feet, and certified to survive an hour under water at those depths. What’s more, it can survive drops of up to 6 feet to solid concrete. Its display is bright enough (540 nits) that it can be seen in bright sunlight, and the touchscreen is usable with wet fingers, or even when wearing gloves.
The rest of the tech specs, however, are not as impressive. In addition to that super bright screen, it also features 3GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard-but-expandable storage, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 617 processor, and the whole thing is powered by a hefty 3,800mAh battery.
The Cat S60 will be available for purchase at the end of May at a list price of $599. Looking at that price and back at the tech specs may make you raise an eyebrow, but you have to remember that FLIR’s thermal imaging dongle for the iPhone costs $249 on its own.
Only time will tell if a thermal camera in a ruggedized phone will prove to be something that can find a market.