Handset makers should make more of unique IR technology, says report

News

Infrared (IR) cameras are finding their way into an increasing number of mobile phones, providing more sophisticated imaging and new applications, according to a report from ABI Research.

The company said manufacturers and operators should make more of their capabilities in their marketing to promote the unique applications they enable.

Jim Mielke, Managing Director and Vice President of Teardowns at ABI Research, said: “With a little education via marketing, IR cameras could easily become a significant differentiator in smartphones. Practical uses include air leak detection around the home, temperature measurement, individual biometric identification, and even detection of burglars hiding in the bushes.”

The research company disassembled Samsung’s now-withdrawn Galaxy Note 7 and Caterpillar’s heavy-duty CAT S60 smartphones to highlight how IR cameras are bringing unique capabilities to the latest generation of mobile phones.

It noted that Samsung installed an IR camera in its Galaxy Note 7 device for biometric identification, to enable its front-facing camera to identify characteristics of the owner’s eye.

The IR function of the CAT S60 allows workers to capture thermal images that detect changes in heat up to 100 feet away, and can read specific temperatures between 50 and 75 feet from the user.

Mielke said: “The simplicity of transitioning between IR and visible light views and the extra sense provided by the IR detection is astonishing. The infrared cameras in these phones produce good quality photos, as most phones today do, but then offer an added layer of resourcefulness by capturing a completely different view of the world.”