The technology behind Thermal Imaging was introduced over 50 years ago to aid armed forces in identifying heat emanating sources, vehicles, and other intruder targets in pitch dark and limited visibility conditions.
Later, after the Gulf War ended, the US Government declassified the technology, empowering various businesses and product manufacturers to implement it into their product offerings. Among these, the first to leverage the thermal imaging tech were the municipality firefighters, later the law enforcement bodies too pitched in for the tech, followed by many other commercial and industrial applications, all lined up to gain strategic advantage of the tech.
Thermal Imaging tech basically employs a thermal camera that encloses specialized sensors and lenses to convert infrared energy, or heat emissions, from the heat source or objects, which it then monitors into visible light colors or shades to show temperature variances. The human eye can only see in the visible light scale, thus the thermal imaging tech brings in a broader and deeper insight into scene content with infrared energy.
Thermal cameras must not be confused with low-light surveillance cameras, as the embedded thermal sensors in thermal cameras are capable of detecting heat signatures in pitch dark conditions or challenging environments like fog, smoke, dust, snow, rain and other limited visibility conditions.
Lately, the thermal technology is being increasingly employed for security applications, and with the addition of video analytics, the tech can be used in automated detection of specified objects classified in a scene, which greatly eases the task for security teams to monitor unattended event-based detection of an intruder or vehicle in the environment.