Island 3 Energy Efficiency Level 1 Infrared Cameras


POP students will use the infrared camera to collect data on how heat is created and dissipated during these scientific interactions.


Island 3 Energy Efficiency Level 1 Infrared Cameras

Exploring With The IR Camera

Infrared Light 

Light comes to Earth in waves. Some waves are long and low frequency, some waves are short and high frequency. We can see some of the waves in the form of color, but other waves we cannot see with our eyes and we have to use special tools to see them. The light we can see with our eyes- violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red has wavelengths between 390 and 700 nanometers (in that order). Infrared light is one of the types of light waves that we can only see with a special camera because the wavelength is too long for our eyes to detect. IR light has wavelengths between 700 nanometers and 1 millimeter. 

How Can You See Heat?

Heat is the primary source of infrared radiation (thermal radiation). Any object that has a temperature above absolute zero (-459.67 degrees Fahrenheit) radiates infrared light waves. Things that do not give off visible light can radiate a lot of infrared waves.

Charcoal inside of an old train is not bright to our eyes, but you can feel the heat if you are standing nearby the train. With an infrared camera, you can see the infrared waves the train is releasing.


How Are Infrared Waves Used?

We use infrared waves in many applications today. Doctors use infrared as a medical tool to detect tumors and monitor blood flow. Firefighters and rescue workers use infrared to help find people trapped in smoke-filled buildings and in the ocean or wilderness at night. Police officers use infrared to track and capture suspects. Astronomers use infrared to help them locate and study celestial bodies far off in space. Meteorologists use infrared to help them predict and track weather events. 

History of Infrared Radiation

Infrared was discovered in 1800 by Sir William Herschel. Herschel was testing filters so he could observe sun spots. While testing he realize that the filters were very hot so he used a thermometer and prism to confirm there was “invisible” light producing heat that was beyond the visible spectrum.

The earliest uses of IR as readily used technology included an iceberg detector patented in 1914, an IR forest fire detector in 1934, and heating uniformity analyzer for steel ships developed in 1935. The first IR cameras also know as infrared line scanners were developed in 1947 by  the US military and Texas Instruments.