Seeing The Invisible With Infrared Cameras

Seeing The Invisible With Infrared Cameras

Seeing the​ Invisible With Infrared Cameras
Every day, cameras capture some of​ the​ most breathtaking sights on earth .​
The ripple of​ water as​ it​ cascades down cliffs, a​ fire engine-red rose in​ full bloom, a​ leaf floating on a​ puddle - these images are preserved in​ memory and​ in​ colored prints, thanks to​ cameras .​
The same cannot be said of​ infrared cameras, however .​
Infrared cameras do not capture images the​ way we see them in​ real life .​
In fact, the​ pictures that infrared cameras produce may even appear odd, disfigured, or​ even ugly .​
Some even think the​ random splashes of​ bright color indicate that the​ camera is​ broken .​
Once you understand how infrared cameras are used, however, these images begin to​ make sense, and​ even become beautiful in​ an​ indefinable way.
Somewhere Outside the​ Rainbow
Infrared light includes a​ range of​ radiation that we cannot see .​
Red is​ the​ brightest color on rainbows, and​ infrared radiation is​ just a​ little bit beyond it .​
On the​ other end, infrared radiation is​ positioned only a​ little bit below microwave radiation .​
For infrared light to​ be captured, nothing should block the​ object that is​ viewing the​ radiation .​
Infrared transmissions are used in​ audio and​ video remote controls, various detectors, and​ wireless connections between tools for​ computers .​
Hot Pictures
The average Joe would find it​ hard to​ explain how infrared cameras are used .​
But really, the​ principle is​ simple .​
Its even akin to​ the​ principle behind the​ workings of​ a​ regular camera .​
This is​ how infrared cameras are used .​
An infrared camera captures an​ object's black-body radiation .​
a​ body emits this radiation due to​ temperature .​
The warmest infrared colors are usually white .​
Middle temperatures are colored yellow and​ red, and​ the​ coolest temperatures are colored blue .​
Infrared cameras work in​ pitch black because the​ amount of​ light surrounding objects is​ irrelevant .​
This, as​ well as​ other features, makes them ideal for​ several functions.
Hot Bodies
You may still be a​ little confused over how infrared cameras are used, but there's no doubt you've seen one of​ its most practical applications .​
Infrared cameras are used to​ save lives .​
People and​ other mammals usually give off more heat than their environment .​
This tendency becomes even more pronounced at​ night .​
Infrared cameras can be used to​ look for​ people and​ animals lost or​ trapped in​ places such as​ thick forests, areas beneath avalanches and​ collapsed structures, and​ huge bodies of​ water .​

Smoke Gets in​ Your Eyes
Infrared cameras may also be useful in​ search and​ rescue operations .​
To illustrate how infrared cameras are used in​ this case, imagine a​ typical raging inferno .​
As flames lick up houses one at​ a​ time, firefighters often have to​ walk through areas where visibility is​ nearly zero .​
This is​ where specially designed infrared cameras come handy .​
Built to​ endure extreme temperatures, these cameras help firefighters spot fire victims, as​ well as​ areas where fire still rages .​
The camera's display is​ attached to​ the​ brim of​ a​ firefighter's helmet, for​ easy access to​ information .​
Fire, Ice, and​ Bodies
On other occasions, infrared cameras are used to​ search people, rather than to​ search for​ them .​
In the​ medical field, high-speed infrared pictures allow physicians to​ examine patients for​ extreme cooling or​ heating of​ the​ body .​
These changes indicate medical problems, among them cancerous tissues, abnormal circulation, and​ inflammation .​

Don't Drink Water if​ It Gets Cooler
Infrared cameras may also be used to​ study the​ causes of​ medical problems .​
To better understand how infrared cameras are used in​ this context, let's focus on drinking water .​
The Environmental Protection Agency, or​ EPA, notes that polluted drinking water and​ surface water is​ one of​ the​ United States' gravest environmental problems .​
Infrared cameras are often used to​ monitor stormwater drainage systems that flow into rivers, streams, creeks, and​ lakes .​
The cameras contrast the​ flow of​ non-water liquids, which is​ generally warmer than the​ flow of​ water, with water .​
The cameras quickly scan the​ region, including regions that would be difficult to​ access without infrared cameras .​
Then, they indicate the​ problematic areas on a​ digital map .​
There is​ no doubt technology continues to​ improve our lives, and​ the​ infrared camera is​ no exception .​
It shows us what is​ otherwise invisible and​ gives hope when there is​ none.

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