Waveshare's Latest Sensor Adds a Thermal Camera to Your Raspberry Pi — or Any Device with a USB Port

New sensors available with a 40-pin GPIO header for Raspberry Pi and compatibles or a USB Type-C connector for everything else.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoSensors / HW101

Embedded and hobbyist electronics specialist Waveshare has launched a new sensor board, designed to add a low-resolution thermal camera to a Raspberry Pi single-board computer or compatible — with a USB Type-C variant for connection to other devices, including smartphones and PCs.

"This is a long-wave IR [infrared] thermal imaging camera that adopts the hybrid technology of microbolometer and thermopile pixel, features 80×62 array pixels," Waveshare writes of its latest launch. "It will detect the IR distribution of objects in the field of view, turn the data into surface temperature of the objects by calculation, and then generate thermal images, for easy integration into miscellaneous industrial or intelligent control applications."

Thermal cameras are handy devices, and while they have traditionally been priced well out of the reach of most hobbyists their cost has been steadily decreasing — making gadgets like Waveshare's sensor boards, brought to our attention by CNX Software, possible. While 80×62 would be a markedly low resolution for a visible-light camera, it's entirely usable in a thermal camera — delivering a total of 4,960 individual spot measurements across its field of view, unlike a non-contact IR thermometer that offers only a single averaged reading.

The company has designed two base models of thermal camera boards. The first features a 40-pin general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header, and is designed for connection to a Raspberry Pi or compatible single-board computer. A more compact variant ditches the GPIO header for a USB Type-C connector, allowing it to be connected to devices including smartphones and PCs. In both cases, the thermal camera is available in standard or wide-angle variants — the former offering a 45 degree field of vision to the latter's 90 degree FoV.

According to Waveshare, all models are capable of measuring a temperature of -20-400°C (-4-752°F) with an accuracy of ±2°C and a refresh rate of 25 frames per second. The company suggests the device could be used for a range of project, ranging from kitchen monitoring and heating and ventilation control to animal detection, incubation monitoring, and preventative maintenance.

The new thermal imaging boards are available on the Waveshare store now, priced at $119.99 before volume discounts.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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