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Until recently, seeing in total darkness has remained outside the capabilities of many agencies because of the associated price tag. FLIR Systems, an Oregon-based company, is looking to remedy this with the introduction of its H-Series handheld thermal imaging camera. Available for half the cost of comparable hardware, the H-Series has all of the features expected of a thermal imager—providing sight in darkness and through smoke, dust, and fog. Utilizing a 320×240 imaging core, this model actually surpasses expectations by providing four times the image clarity and detail of earlier systems. The Pro model can detect a man’s silhouette at a range of nearly 5,000 feet and can provide enough detail to identify them out to 1,200 feet. Vehicles can be detected past 2 miles and license plates read within 3,000 feet. The H-Series camera supports video output and image save functions and allows data to be saved on a removable SD card, downloaded directly to a computer via an internal USB2 port, or shown in real time on larger screens with video output. Powered by four AA batteries, it can be recharged using an AC adapter or car charger.

The H-Series imager, with all of the features described above, is opening up entirely new markets to such advanced technology, namely smaller police and sheriff’s departments unable to afford previous FLIR models. As the technology is fielded to these agencies, officers are praising its performance and incorporating it into all phases of their operations, developing new ways to conduct searches, surveillance and apprehensions more safely and effectively.

How FLIR Works
Suspects can’t hide their body heat. Not easily, anyway. Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) imagers and cameras detect body heat—called infrared light or thermal radiation—and from it create a picture in a scope or video screen. Infrared wavelengths are normally invisible to the human eye, but FLIR imagers detect and interpret the heat emissions, or thermal radiation, of objects to provide users with an image. Because everything emits heat, the black and white image displayed shows everything in view, with contrast between temperatures providing the detail needed for a clear picture. Humans, at a normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, show as white or black on the display depending on the imager’s settings, in contrast to varying shades of gray for vehicles, foliage and structures. Normally white is hot, black is cold, and shades of gray complete the image by displaying the temperatures in between.

For more information, visit flir.com or call 877-595-1989.

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