The image above shows a thermal imager (TIC) which detects temperature changes within the surrounding environment. A TIC is a device that measures heat and converts it into electrical signals which are then displayed on an electronic screen or printed out onto paper. These devices work by detecting small amounts of infrared radiation emitted from objects in your immediate surroundings. They do so by using two mirrors, one at each end of the device, to reflect light back and forth between them. When light strikes the mirror surface, it bounces off of the object being measured and returns to the sensor. The reflected light is then detected by a photodiode, which converts it into an electrical signal.
A TIC consists of several parts:
1) An IR detector which measures the amount of infrared radiation coming from its surroundings.
It may use any type of IR detector such as an infrared thermometer or a laser diode detector.
2) A lens which reflects the light back towards the sensor.
It may have a flat surface like a window or it may have a curved surface like a fish tank.
3) A circuit board with various components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes and other components needed to convert the electrical energy from the incident radiation into an electrical signal.
4) An electronics package containing all of these parts.
Now you know how a TIC works, but how does it measure temperature?
It does so by measuring the amount of infrared radiation emitted from its surroundings. Every material has a specific temperature at which it gives off the most infrared light (emits the most infrared energy). If you knew the exact temperature of an object, all you would have to do is measure the amount of infrared light it is giving off and compare that to another object with a known temperature. By comparing the amount of infrared light emitted by each, you could then determine which is hotter.
The wavelengths of infrared light range from 700nm (red) to 1mm (microwave). As mentioned before, TICs are unable to detect wavelengths above 2mm (far-infrared). The intensity of infrared light detected by a TIC is directly related to the temperature of an object. This means that the hotter an object is, the more infrared energy it emits. A TIC is only able to detect differences in an object’s temperature.
It cannot measure absolute temperature.
TICs come in several different forms, including hand-held units, those installed directly into electronic devices and complex systems which integrate several different sensors together to provide a clear image of the surrounding environment.
Hand-held units are very easy to use and are highly portable. They are able to fit into a person’s hand or pocket and can be taken just about anywhere. These devices are most often used for detecting hot or cold objects in an electrical panel or for inspecting electrical breakers.
Portable units require an external power source such as external battery packs or wall current. These types of devices are usually used in factories or warehouses for maintenance purposes. They are also used by first response teams to locate people trapped in burning buildings.
Systems which integrate several sensors into one unit are referred to as Non-Contact Thermographic systems (Infrared Cameras). These are able to produce a visual display of an area invisible to the naked eye. They are often integrated into satellites and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).
The types of materials used in TICs determine the wavelengths of light it is able to detect. Different types of sensors can be added to the same device to enable it to measure a wider range of wavelengths.
Most common TICs are made up of the following:
1) Silicone Carbide (SiC) or Strontium Titanate (ST) semiconductor detectors.
These types of sensors can detect wavelengths from 5 microns to 20 microns. They are often used in hand-held units and can only detect large temperature differences.
2) HgCdTe (mercury cadmium telluride) semiconductor detectors.
These are the most common types of sensors used in TICs. They are able to detect wavelengths from 6 microns to 20 microns. HgCdTe sensors are more sensitive than the SiC/ST detectors, however they are more expensive. They can detect both large and small temperature differences making them very versatile.
3) Interband (InSb) Quantum Well Infrared Photodetectors (QWIP).
These are highly sensitive photodetectors and can detect wavelengths in the middle of the infrared spectrum (4 to 14 microns). They are often used in UAVs due to their low-temperature capabilities (they don’t require cooling). QWIP sensors can only measure small temperature differences.
4) Germanium (Ge) crystal detectors.
These can only detect long wavelength infrared light (7 to 14 microns). Ge detectors are not very sensitive, but they can measure very small temperature differences.
Due to the nature of their work, TICs have to be complex pieces of equipment. One fault in a cable or power supply could render the device useless. They also require expensive and rare materials to construct. This makes them quite costly to manufacture and difficult to maintain.
Applications for thermographic imaging can be found in many fields. The devices are used in everyday life and in the military and scientific world as well.
Homes & Buildings: TICs are used to detect energy leaks in homes and buildings. This includes escaping air, improper insulation, and malfunctioning heating and cooling systems. Infrared cameras can also be used to detect structural problems within a home such as cracks in walls or foundations.
Agriculture: TICs are used to detect energy loss in barns and livestock. This allows farmers to ensure that their animals are being kept at the right temperature and not wasting any resources.
Meteorology: These cameras are used by meteorologists to detect cloud patterns and wind direction. This helps them to create more accurate weather reports and forecasts for the public.
Scientific Research: TICs are used in labs to detect electromagnetic radiation levels. They can measure the amount of radiation in the air, on surfaces, and in other objects. Scientists use this information to measure the amount of pollution in the atmosphere or inspect potentially dangerous areas for radiation leaks.
Law Enforcement: TICs are used by law enforcement officials to detect the presence of illegal substances. The camera can be used to scan a car during a traffic stop to identify any potential dangers such as explosives or bio-hazard materials. These cameras are also used to scan suspicious packages for the presence of explosives.
Military: High-tech TICs are used by the military to detect the presence of individuals and objects within a given area. These cameras are often used to secure perimeters and identify potential dangers in the area. These cameras can be mounted on the roof of a building, attached to a drone, or even worn on a pair of glasses. We also sell military versions of these cameras that come equipped with night vision and long-range zoom lenses.
Bio: After identifying your main product, you will create a biography of the item. This includes determining who would use this item, when they would use it, and where they would use it.
Who: Who would use your product?
First, you need to determine who would have access to your product.
Is it a consumer product that can be bought anywhere or a medical instrument only available to doctors?
Your target demographic should reflect this in some way. For example, if your product is a medical tool used by doctors, your target audience would be medical professionals such as doctors and nurses.
Second, you need to understand who your customers are.
What is their income level? What is their job title? Are they male or female?
Once again, your target demographic should reflect this in some way. For example, if your product is a tool used by doctors, your customer could be a doctor, nurses, or anyone else in the medical field. If your product is an app used by teens, then your customer could be a teen with a phone.
When: When would your product be used? Is it a daily product that is used many times a day such as a toaster, or is it a product that is only used once in awhile such as an alarm clock?
Knowing when your customers would use your product will help you create a marketing strategy. For example, a toaster is used every morning to make breakfast. You could advertise your toaster on breakfast goods such as cereal boxes. An alarm clock, on the other hand, is used a couple times a day. You could advertise your alarm clock on things that are often used right before bed such as water bottles and shampoo.
Where: Where are your target demographic located when they use your product?
Knowing where your customers are when they use your product will help you market your product more effectively. For example, if your target demographic are medical professionals, then you could advertise your product on medical brochures. If your target demographic is commuters, then you could advertise on buses and subways.
Guidance: Now that you’ve identified who uses your product, when they use it, and where they use it, you need to create a marketing plan that will help you sell your product. Market research is a very important part of the process that should not be ignored.
Market research is the process of gathering information about your potential customers. This information is used to learn about your target demographic and their buying habits. The type of market research that is most useful during the Concept stage is called Primary Research. This type of market research involves creating a survey that can be distributed to a large group of people so that you can collect key data about your target demographic. Using this data, you can make decisions about your product’s future.
The survey should contain questions about your customers’ likes and dislikes. This will help you find out more information about your customer’s habits, which will in turn help you create a product that they will want. The survey should also contain questions about your customers’ daily schedules and locations so that you can analyze where your customers are most frequently located and when.
For example, your survey might ask:
Do you like the taste of coffee?
Where do you purchase your groceries? (Grocery store, supermarket, specialty store)
When do you go grocery shopping?
(Morning, afternoon, evening)
Do you prefer to read books or listen to music when you commute to work?
The results of your market survey can be used in a number of ways. You can use this information to create a product that will meet the demands of your customers. Or, if you already have a product idea, you can use the survey to find out where your target demographic goes and when so that you can focus your marketing efforts at those locations.
For example, if your survey says that your target demographic prefers reading books over listening to music while on their morning commute, then you should place advertisements for your product on morning newspapers rather than subway walls.
Step Four: Develop a Product
Now that you have chosen a specific product to focus on, it is time to create a prototype. Prototyping is the process of creating a model or mockup of your idea to help you see what your product will look like and how it will function. Creating a prototype can be achieved in many ways, depending on your product’s design. Creating a prototype can be time consuming and expensive, so you want to make sure that your prototype is as close to the finished product as possible. This will help you save money during the Testing stage.
When creating your prototype, it is important to have a clear idea of what your product will look like. It is also important to take into consideration the materials that will be needed to create your product. Depending on the nature of your product, you may have to order materials that may take time to arrive. As such, it is important to begin creating your prototype as soon as possible.
Below are a list of questions to ask yourself when creating a prototype:
Is my idea feasible?
Does my idea qualify as a product or service?
What materials will I need to create my product?
What tools will I need to create my product?
How much will the materials and tools cost?
Does my idea require a patent? (It is highly recommended to patent your idea)
Step Five: Test Your Prototype
Once you have developed your prototype, it is important to test it to see if it is safe for public consumption and if it is effective in doing what it was intended to do. When testing your prototype, it is important that you find people who fit into your target demographic. For example, if you were creating an app that helps people find the closest coffee shop, you would want to recruit people who fit the demographic of owning a smartphone, live within the city, are tech-savvy and are coffee drinkers.
It is important to know that your prototype may or may not fail during testing. However, if your product fails to impress your test audience, then it might be a good idea to go back to the drawing board.
Step Six: Implementation
Once you have perfected your prototype, it is time to put your idea into action! This means that you can start producing your product on a much larger scale and selling it to retailers or customers depending on the type of product that you have created. You will also want to register your product with the proper businesses necessary so that you are protected under the law. Finally, you can expand your business by adding more products or creating a new business model.
Step Seven: Marketing and Sales
At this point, your product is ready to be sold to the public. However, it is important to have a sales strategy in place before you begin selling your product. This includes everything from marketing to advertising to branding. You may also want to hire people who are familiar with sales so that you can sell your product yourself.
Step Eight: Expansion
Your product is a success! Now, it is time to move into new markets. This could be anything from opening up a store in another city to launching a new product that is similar to your first one.
Regardless of what you decide to do, it is important to remember that you must continue to market and sell your product in order for your business to survive.
In conclusion, creating a business can be challenging but also very rewarding. By following the 8 steps listed above, you can ensure that you will have a prosperous business.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Infrared thermography: errors and uncertainties (W Minkina, S Dudzik – 2009 – books.google.com)
- Third-generation infrared imagers (PR Norton, JB Campbell III, SB Horn… – Infrared Technology …, 2000 – spiedigitallibrary.org)
- High-operating-temperature infrared photodetectors (J Piotrowski, A Rogalski – 2007 – dl.acm.org)
- Potential tasks and research issues for mobile robots in robocup rescue (RR Murphy, J Casper, M Micire – Robot Soccer World Cup, 2000 – Springer)
- TOD: a new method to characterize electro-optical system performance (P Bijl, JM Valeton – … Design, Analysis, Modeling, and Testing IX, 1998 – spiedigitallibrary.org)
- Negative luminescence and its applications (CT Elliott – … Transactions of the Royal Society of London …, 2001 – royalsocietypublishing.org)