Engineering 101

The World from the Perspective of an Infrared Camera

Maybe I should introduce myself first: My name is IRSX-I, I am an infrared camera and belong to the IRS family of AT – Automation Technology. IRSX-I sounds pretty wacky at first, I know, but my creators wanted to emphasize my ability for outstanding technology. Because I am quite a valuable package. Not in the material sense, but in terms of my smart and autonomous functionality.

 Since I am so small and compact, no one would expect that from me, but I give you my word for that. I am a so-called all-in-one solution and you can let my work anywhere on my own. And because I can be used so autonomously and also communicate independently with the one that is connected with me, I am worldwide unique. So you could almost think that the expression “small but powerful” was invented just for me.

I will also explain why. My view of the world is quite different from yours. I am literally in completely different spheres. While you can capture the visible light spectrum with your eyes, my visual world is in the infrared range, i.e. in the range of heat radiation. Take the mobile fever control ‘FebriScan’ from my employer AT – Automation Technology as an example. Thanks to my special skills, I can see exactly which area of your face is the warmest – and these are the inner corners of your eyes.

Here, in cooperation with my friend, the Blackbody IRS Calilux, who verifies my measurement, I can measure your body temperature with an accuracy of +/- 0.3 degrees. Especially now in Corona times this is of course a huge advantage, because I am able to do great things although being such a small device by giving you a signal if your body temperature is too high.

And speaking of living beings, did you know that I once made a trip to the Arctic Circle? I am a real globetrotter when it comes to discovering new adventures. Anyway, there I took up the trail for whales to ensure the protection of the animals around the research vessel Polarstern. However, this mission required quite detailed preparation, as we had temperatures of up to -50 degrees Celsius in these regions.

Accordingly, a new robe was made for me and my functions were optimally trained with a specially developed software so that I and my seven companions, who had also been hired for the job, could pursue whale watching without being disturbed. For this job, we got the pole position around the railing of Polarstern, so that every time we detected the blow of an animal within a radius of two kilometers, we could alert the researchers.

Now you’re probably asking yourself why we focused on the whale’s fountain in particular, right? Well, the water that the whale ejects is blown out breathing air after its dive and has a higher temperature than the air at the Arctic Circle. Since we are focused on heat radiation, this blow was more visible via infrared.

Finally, I would like to tell you about my spectacular assignment at NASA and at Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. You don’t make trips like that every day. As you can probably imagine, the material for spaceships must be one hundred percent free of defects to avoid unnecessary risks. That’s why I got an exclusive look behind the scenes at both NASA and SpaceX – in the most literal sense of the word.

With my ability to use active thermography, I am able to detect defects below the surface that are invisible to the human eye. By the way, this working process is called non-destructive testing and requires high-precision measurements. Therefore I was double motivated and took a meticulous look at every detail, no matter how small. It was really a lot of work, but in the end it was worth it.

As you can see from these examples, as a member of the infrared association I am a competent and indeed unique all-rounder. I can work around the clock in any industrial sector and help people to do their job better and faster. At the same time I am quite undemanding. You just have to give me a cable or the password of a WLAN access and I start reliably. Sounds like a perfect colleague, doesn’t it?

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