FLIR Duo Brings Thermal Tech to Hobby Drones

FLIR’s latest contribution to the market – the FLIR Duo – brings familiar FLIR technology into a new sphere. At one time, the American company was perhaps best known for supplying thermal imaging cameras to be used in aerial technology projects. These collaborations naturally expanded into the world of drones, and the Oregon outfit has since teamed up with Chinese tech leader DJI on the Zenmuse XT. The company has also produced its own thermal imaging camera for small unmanned aircraft systems – the FLIR Vue. Since then, FLIR thermal imaging cameras seem to have popped up everywhere – there’s even one for your iPhone.

Following on from these successes, FLIR has taken the next natural step forward, bringing its technology to smaller, hobby drones operated by amateur enthusiasts, such as the 3DR Solo or DJI Phantom 2. This is all possible thanks to its latest innovation – the FLIR Duo. It’s essentially a similar product to the FLIR Vue, but for use on smaller drones. This 2-megapixel camera shoots 160 x 120 thermal images and can combine regular photography with thermal imaging, meaning you can shoot first and select what you want to use later.

In appearance, you might be forgiven for confusing the Duo with a GoPro, at least from a distance. Closer up, you’ll see the dual lens setup of the Duo, but the similarity isn’t coincidental – small drone cameras are inevitably going to share similarities with the GoPro in order to remain as widely compatible as possible.

Although FLIR and DJI have teamed up in the past, at present it doesn’t look like anything produced by DJI since the Phantom 3 will be compatible with the Duo, however, for the simple fact that the latest DJI drones come with their own built-in cameras. No doubt executives in Wilsonville will be hoping to see some kind of future agreement with the Shenzhen tech company, in order to ensure that the Duo and future developments remain relevant.

Another new product from FLIR is its One mobile-friendly camera. It’s available to use with the iPhone and Android devices and slides into the underside of the phone. This is essentially the same technology used in the Duo, but for hand-held usage.

The One will set you back between $199 and $249, depending on which incarnation you choose. The Duo can be yours for just $999 – a mere snip when compared with the FLIR Vue, which retails at $1,500.

Andrew Maxwell

Andrew is a former journalist who now works as a freelance writer specializing in tech and gadgets. He currently resides in Thailand.

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