Author Topic: IRISYS - Thermal Camera history + models + IRI4035 camera unboxing by Fraser  (Read 3872 times)

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Online FraserTopic starter

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This may not be that interesting as it is just the story and unboxing of an IRYSIS thermal camera rather than disassembly.
That may come later  :)

A bit of background on IRISYS first......


IRISYS are located in Northampton UK and were involved in the development of low resolution thermal imaging arrays for use in People Counting products. These products monitor and plot the movement of people passing within their field of view. Retail businesses such as supermarkets used the technology to monitor footfall, checkout queue lengths and shopping habits of customers around display stands. The software could monitor numerous customers at the same time and provide browsing patterns and dwell time. This sort of information is invaluable to retailers. The technology could also be used in intelligent building management systems where systems are only turned on in occupied areas or when people enter areas. They are like super PIR sensors.

Thermal people counting and tracking sensors were a revolutionary product and IRISYS was a world leader in the marketplace. The problem that IRISYS faced was procurement and worldwide shipping of the thermal imaging arrays. USA sources were tightly controlled by various export regulations as they were considered dual use technology. IRISYS addressed this issue by designing and manufacturing its own low resolution thermal sensor arrays that were not liable to extant dual use technology regulations and controls. They manufactured a 16 x 16 pixel pyroelectric sensor array as their first step and named it the 'Redeye'. They then increased the array size to 31 x 31 pixels with the Redeye 6A, and later to a 47 x 47 pixel array.

IRISYS produced people counters using the 16 x 16 pixel pyroelectric array but they saw a previously untapped area of the market for low cost, low resolution thermal cameras. With this in mind they designed and released the IRI1001, IRI1002 and IRI1011 thermal cameras. Each contained the 16 x 16 pixel Redeye sensor array but interpolation was used to increase the displayed image to 128 x 128 pixels. These cameras saw service in industry, Educational establishments and labs. For the first time you did not need a second mortgage to purchase a useable thermal camera. IRISYS had produced a ground breaking product for those with a need for something better than a single pixel pyrometer.

The later higher resolution Redeye 6A with its 31 x 31 pixel array was used in what we now know as the FLUKE VT02 and VT04. They are low resolution "visual thermometers" rather than being called thermal cameras. In truth though, they are cameras and deserve to be recognised as such. IRISYS designed the VT series but FLUKE sold it under their name. FLUKE went on to purchase IRISYS but that is another story.

IRiSYS expanded their thermal camera range using the Redeye pyroelectric sensor arrays. They released the IRI1020 with a 16 x 16 pixel array, the IRI2010 with the 47 x 47 pixel array and the IRI2012 "Fever Screening" camera with the same 47 x 47 pixel sensor. All of these cameras were intended to fill a niche market and to avoid international shipping restrictions. They were low resolution and had a frame rate of only 8Hz. The IRI2012 fever screening camera was a tweaked IRI2010 intended to provide an affordable health screening capability at airports and other border situations  or public places where screening for Bird Flue was required.

IRISYS took the decision to expand its camera range further and to enter the mainstream QVGA thermal camera market segment. They did this using 160 x 120 pixel Amorphous Silicon Detector arrays with a frame rate of <9fps to avoid the more stringent >9fps worldwide shipping regulations. The 160 x 120 pixel sensor was used in the IRI4000 and IR16 series. These two series comprised several cameras, each tailored to, but not limited to, specific tasks. This maintained the IRISYS policy of targeting both generalist and niche users of their cameras. The highest resolution camera that IRISYS produced was the IR32 series that contained a 320 x 240 <9fps A-Si sensor array.

Fluke, or rather their mother company, bought IRISYS and in doing so they effectively deleted all of the IRISYS thermal camera offerings as they already had the Raytek designed cameras in their range. Sadly this was the end of IRISYS thermal camera manufacturing. They do however still produce the Fluke VT series 'visual thermometer' and the Dewalt DCT 'visual thermometer', both using the Redeye 6A 31 x 31 pixel pyroelectric array.

IRISYS still exists as a front line manufacturer of people counting technology and they continue to develop the thermal imaging people counting sensor heads. These use the same Redeye arrays as the visual thermometers but they lack the chopper wheel assembly as it is not needed or undesirable in the people counting mode of operation.

The various camera basic specs are as follows:

Name           Pixels    FPS(Hz)     FOV (Deg)    Temp Range (C)
IRI1001.     16x16.         6               20x20           -10 to +150
IRI1002      16x16          6               20x20           -10 to +150
IRI1011      16x16          8               20x20           -10 to +300      
IRI1020      16x16          8               20x20           -10 to +300
IRI2010      47x47          8               20x20           -10 to +350
IRI2012      47x47          8               20x20           -10 to +350
IRI4010      160x120     <9              20x15           -10 to +250
IRI4011      160x120     <9              20x15           -10 to +250
IRI4015      160x120     <9              20x15           -20 to +125
IRI4030      160x120     <9              20x15           -10 to +900
IRI4035      160x120     <9              20x15           -10 to +500
IRI4040      160x120     <9           10.2x7.7          -10 to +250
IR16DB      160x120     <9               20x15           -20 to +125
IR16DE      160x120     <9               20x15           -10 to +250
IR16DH      160x120     <9               20x15           -10 to +900
IR16DS      160x120     <9               20x15           -10 to +500
IR32DS      320x240     <9            21.4x16           -10 to +250

Full specs are available here:

http://partnerportal.irisys.co.uk/product-categories/thermal-imaging/handheld-thermal-imagers/


My camera purchase .......

I saw a poorly advertised IRISYS IRI4035 camera on eBay that was described as in good condition but there were not any pictures of it. This would understandably put off many potential buyers but I tend to take calculated risks where thermal cameras are concerned.

The camera arrived yesterday in an anonymous looking white box. upon opening the box I was greeted by a 'Peli' type case in its original foam shipping restraints. Unusual for a used camera I thought as the outer carton is usually thrown away soon after purchase. I extracted the hard case and opened it. Inside I could see a IRI4035 camera still fitted with its screen protector, unopened USB cable and power supply, a CD containing the user manual plus software, a SD to USB card reader and an unopened high temperature filter box. This thing looked brand new and unused ! I carefully unpacked all the parts inside the case and there is not a mark on any of it to suggest that it has ever been used. The camera itself is unmarked and has its protective rubber bumper cover fitted. There was nothing stored on the SD memory card and image recovery software found no deleted files. I had got myself a new and unused IRI4035 for £200. Not bad me thinks.

I charged the cameras Lithium Ion battery and tested the camera. After an approximately 30 second configuration and calibration period I was presented with a neat thermal imaging display and rather noisy image. There was quite a lot of vertical line noise. I then noted that the camera was set to a span of just 5 degrees. The noise was to be expected at such a small span. Upon opening up the span to 20 degrees I was able to image one of our cats and a clear image was produced. I further increase the span and the image was more than acceptable. I am told that A-Si detector arrays do produce more vertical line noise than the VOx types so such is to be expected. The approx 30 second start up time suggests to me that the camera is fitted with a TEC or heated microbolometer sensor. The microbolometer die takes time to come up to temperature and stabilise.

The camera performs well but will not win any beauty contests ! It is functional rather than pretty in its boxy format. The IRI4035 offers me a 160 x 120 pixel image with manual focus lens and extended temperature capability up to 500 degrees C. That could prove quite useful. Is it a great camera ?In my opinion it is adequate. It likely contains a well sorted third party sensor array (possibly ULIS) or even a complete core. The processing electronics that are attached to the core are doing their job well but some improved vertical noise processing would not go amiss.  I guess I am too used to FLIR VOx sensor based cameras and their excellent image noise processing.

Will I keep it ? No idea at the moment. I still have its distant relation, the IRISYS IRI1011 as I like its significance in the history of affordable thermal imaging cameras.

Fraser

Now to the unboxing........
« Last Edit: February 25, 2017, 08:33:58 pm by Fraser »
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Online FraserTopic starter

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Online FraserTopic starter

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Offline Bill W

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Hi Fraser,

What is the idea behind the odd outer lens holder, is that for focusing ?  I can see the inner thread for the 'ND' filter and then the lens element retention inside that.

regards
Bill

Online FraserTopic starter

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Hi Bill,

It is a rubber lens grip used to set the manual focus. A weird looking thing with notches missing out of it. I suspect it is a part of the 'rubber bumper' protection system as if the camera is dropped on its face, the rubber bumper extends well beyond the metal lens ring and cushions the impact to it. The lens cap is a fiddle to fit as its release button sits in one of the cut out areas. The two larger cut out areas permit fitting of the ND filter but that is a fiddle as well ! I suspect that the rubber 'boot' around the lens is easily removable.

Fraser
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Offline PlainName

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Brilliant score, that man. And fascinating history lesson :)
 


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