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FLIR Duo is a GoPro-size thermal camera for drones

Now hobby pilots can grab thermal imagery from the sky.
FLIR Duo is a GoPro-size thermal camera for drones
James Trew
James Trew|@itstrew|January 4, 2017 11:06 PM

FLIR is no stranger to thermal imagery. Its cameras can be found on everything from industrial gear to the iPhone. The company has also been working with aerial tech for over 20 years, and more recently drones with the Zenmuse XT collaboration with DJI and the FLIR Vue. The FLIR Duo brings that same concept to smaller drones -- i.e., the ones that you and I are more likely to own. (Think: the 3DR Solo, or DJI Phantom 2.)

Essentially, the Duo is a more affordable version of its existing aerial products ($999, compared to the Vue, which starts at $1,500). Image-wise, the Duo combines a 160-x-120 thermal image with a 2-megapixel standard camera, meaning you don't have to choose between heat imagery or regular photography, as Duo can handle and even combine both.

It's no surprise that the Duo looks a lot like a GoPro, aside from the dual-lens setup, of course. This is, in no small part, to ensure easy compatibility with a number of existing craft. The small problem -- for FLIR, at least -- is that all of DJI's most popular drones already come with cameras built-in. And that's a large slice of the consumer-drone market. As FLIR has worked with DJI in the past, it's not unthinkable that this functionality could become Phantom-friendlier (Phantoms before the model 3 will work). For now, though, it's going to require a different quadcopter.

I also got to see the new FLIR One mobile-friendly camera. The One comes in Android and iPhone variants that slide into the bottom of your phone. The new One (the third iteration) comes in two versions, the more affordable of which is $199 -- a $50 saving on the previous model. It also comes with a height-adjustable connector, meaning you won't need to take the case off your handset to use it. So if you're looking to use a drone for aerial inspection but also want a hand-held version, FLIR should have your attention.

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FLIR Duo is a GoPro-size thermal camera for drones