Author Topic: Seek announce OEM cores  (Read 3365 times)

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Offline Ben321

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2019, 04:19:06 am »

Framerate is the deciding factor for if it can be sold overseas without paperwork. Under no circumstance do you need to fill out paperwork to buy if you are in the US. The hardness of getting an OEM core such as the Seek Mosaic 30fps version would be no different than the hardness of getting an end-user device of similar size and capability (such as the Seek Compact Pro FastFrame), at least from a legal perspective. I was able to buy the Seek Compact Pro FastFrame without filling out any paperwork. I just made the purchase on their online store and they shipped it to me.

As for the contact form, a contact form basically sends an automated email, I think. Anyway, Seek doesn't publicly publish their email address, from what I've seen. You can only contact them regarding their OEM cores by filling out the contact form on their OEM cores webpage.

Not quite correct.  Your 'category 2' are Dual Use and in the US are Dept of Commerce controlled (Wassenaar) items, but these are not ITAR.  Those are generally saleable internally (US to US, UK to UK etc) but cannot cross trade borders legally without paperwork (the EU is a single area).

There is a 3rd category for 'ITAR', military specific items in the US.  All other countries will have similar Military item lists which includes top end thermal cameras as well as tanks etc.  That needs paperwork even internally.

Putting 'none' on the form guarantees no reply, have you tried Ben321 Enterprises Inc ?
Not that this will help much as the next thing you will get is a sales call that will suss you out as an individual.

Bill

I don't think that 320x240 at 30fps is in the "requires paperwork even in your own country" category. The only boundary for any categories I'm aware of is the 9Hz boundary. So 15fps in Seek Compact Pro FastFrame or 30fps in the Seek Mosaic OEM Core, are both in the same category. Only thing that might be in an even higher category would be the multi-million-dollar military-grade ones that have resolutions the same as modern visible light digital cameras, like 5000x4000 or something, and are cooled with liquid nitrogen for an almost completely noise-free image. These are typically used in military nightvision-sights for tanks and attack helicopters, and stuff like that.

Nothing Seek sells would be in that category.
 

Offline Vipitis

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #26 on: December 28, 2019, 12:01:20 pm »
while your assumptions are still incorrect. Even if you can buy something in the US. It cannot cross borders without paperwork or be sold without letting both parties sign an end use declaration. It is likely different for an SDK product as usually modifying the product is not allowed. There will be paperwork in buying such a product as a US citizen in the US from an official reseller. Simply something that holds you accountable for not visiting NK with it or selling it to foregeiners.
 

Offline arsenix

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2020, 04:44:13 pm »
Digging up a slightly old thread but I think appropriate...

Has anyone tested these new Seek OEM modules? I was considering buying the QVGA dev kit to experiment with. The additional resolution over the Lepton is appealing, as is the better environmental tolerance of the package and mechanics. I have quite a lot of experience with the Lepton and it has had some challenges. The Lepton's socket is somewhat problematic for one, and I have seen a reasonably high failure rate of the sensors themselves over time (estimating around 5-10%). Also I still get some random crashes that require a power cycle to clear. It is a bit more expensive but there are't a lot of options for QVGA under $500.

I haven't found anything online about experiences/test results with the OEM modules. I assume these are similar or identical silicon wise to some of the products that use Seek sensors.
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2020, 05:22:59 pm »
I have tested the original Seek Thermal J3 PRO core and found its temperature stability to be somewhat poor. There is temperature drift in the cores measurement accuracy for the whole of a 60 minute test that I performed against a known accurate professional Blackbody and constant 21C ambient temperature. This suggested a self heating issue with the J3-320 core. Temperature measurement accuracy was also less than great, but the specification suggests this with a +/-5C stated accuracy.

As a side note, the standard, non PRO, Seek core is known to be less accurate than the PRO version.

Ambient temperature stability of the J3 Pro core is not great. Seek Thermal state that the mosaic core is much improved in this respect.

After considering my findings, my client moved to the new Mosaic cores. From what I have been told, they will be more thermally stable and accurate. I have not tested the mosaic core yet though. I asked what visible differences there were between teh J3-320 PRO and the new Mosaic Pro core. My client advised that they appeared to be the same except that the processing board has been removed from its previous location on the rear of the J3 core and is now 'air gapped' using a length of FPC. This suggests to me that the J3 processor PCB may have been a source of local heat that was effecting the stability of the J3 microbolometer.

Seek Thermal advised that the new Mosaic is superior to the older J3 Pro core.

As the owner of several Seek Reveal cameras, I can say that they provide accurate thermal measurements with a settling time of only 3 minutes. Though I have been advised that the Reveal does not use the whole Mosaic core, there are similarities in the design as the microbolometer PCB is connected to the main PCB using a ribbon cable so local heating is limited to the adjacent LED torch (when used) with no processor board behind the microbolometer PCB to cause issues.

Is the Seek Thermal Mosaic core any good ? Well everyone will have their own opinion on this but mine is that both the Seek Thermal and FLIR Lepton cores are a compromise solution that was built down to a price. they will never deliver crisp low noise images like those that come from more expensive core and camera designs. The Seek Pro core has the advantage of higher resolution than the Lepton, but some of the expected image improvement is lost in the noise content of the image and relatively poor optics used on the core. I am impressed with the Seek Reveal Pro, but less so with the standard Seek Reveal. In my opinion, the PRO is worth the additional cost. In low Delta T scenes, the Seek Thermal cores do still struggle with their internal noise levels but the Lepton also struggles in a similar manner so neither are great in that low Delta T scenario. I can say that the Seek Thermal Pro outperforms the Lepton in many respects though and is well worth investigating. Recommending the standard Seek Thermal Core would not be so easy for me to do. It has noise issues that prove challenging to accept, even at a low 'per unit' cost.
 
If you buy the evaluation kit for the Seek Pro you will have access to an SDK. Before you get too excited, the SDK takes the form of detailing the command set for the Seek Thermal API so you are not really directly addressing the core functionality. If you have issues with the Seek Thermal API....you are basically stuck. The SEEK Thermal core solution is a hybrid hardware/software approach that is, in some ways similar to SDR in the world of radio. The 'Front end' is the microbolometer with its lens, FFC shutter and a small processor that converts the collected scene data to a proprietary data stream that passes over a USB 2.0 link to a host. The host has the Seek API installed on it and the API provides the programmer with a choice of data at different points in the API's processing path. Even the "RAW" data output is not truly RAW. It comes after NUC, FFC and dead pixel processing. There is a non radiometric RGB data output that has Histogram image processing applied to enhance the contrast in scenes etc, and then there is a Thermographic output with no Histogram based image processing, but with accurate pixel temperature data. The Seek Reveal Pro lets the user switch between the 'Pretty' RGB mode and the less pretty, but accurate Thermography mode. The API dictates what the programmer can do with the imaging core and it can prove limiting. The API is the Software side of the Hybrid solution that is needed to produce a complete camera solution. The only alternative would be to reverse engineer the cores data stream to the host and write a bespoke API. Seek offer no information on that data link or help in making your own API.

Seek are not the most open or helpful of companies to deal with so bear this in mind as well. Before committing to using their cores, you would be wise to buy the development 'kit' and test it thoroughly to ascertain whether it meets your needs. The documentation for the core and the API is not something I was greatly impressed with and you will likely be left with a lot of questions about integrating the core into a system that can produce decent results.

I hope this helps you a little.

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 05:59:45 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2020, 06:10:52 pm »
The microbolometer PCB fitted in the Seek Thermal Reveal Pro. The ribbon connects it to the main PCB and its image processing chip.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 07:24:50 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Spirit532

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2020, 07:02:08 pm »
Attempted to buy a sample commercially, through a company, and to get a quote. Got one reply asking why we want a sample(to evaluate!?!?!?!?) and then got ghosted.
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2020, 07:22:08 pm »
Seek appear keen for people to buy the evaluation kit from Digikey rather than provide samples for evaluation.

They seem pretty fussy when it comes to providing technical documentation so I do not know what happens if you buy the kit from Digikey as an NDA is required for the SDK that contains essential information to use the kit. If the application for the SDK is declined, you are pretty stuck.

I am under a Seek Thermal NDA that contains legal threats if I share the SDK contents. This NDA applies to the <9fps core Manual as well !

Fraser
« Last Edit: July 18, 2020, 07:24:05 pm by Fraser »
 

Offline Lord of nothing

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #32 on: July 19, 2020, 03:17:45 pm »
Hi
I bought a Handheld Thermal Cam wiht a 320 x 240 Resolution. Well its sound interesting because the might use the MOSAIC 320 x 240?! Are there any Chinese Company who build Thermal Sensors?
The same for the Resolution 200 x 150 the sound familiar to.
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Offline arsenix

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2020, 12:42:10 am »
Seek is a much smaller company than Flir, so I'm not surprised they try to be judicious with their support resources. When you are small resources are very finite!

The Mosaic OEM is a pretty attractive package IMHO. I'm planning to get the eval kit and check it out. A bit more expensive than Lepton but the device package and resolution are appealing (assuming noise and image quality is comparable).

I have been waiting for a Chinese company to develop similar modules. There are a few that have been promising for a few years (even with prototypes behind glass at CES) but none have materialized as commercial products yet AFAIK.


James

 

Offline Lord of nothing

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2020, 12:49:57 am »
I guess the Weapon grade are used internally and should not get sold officially.
In Russia the start to produce there own CPUs so why not some Thermal Chips to?
Made in Japan, destroyed in Sulz im Wienerwald.
 

Offline Hoich

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2020, 06:25:20 am »
The Mosaic core looks familiar when looking at the Seek Shot Pro. Resolution is the same and the 4mm focal length seems to be in the same FOV region. There are some minor differences though, e.g. the slight mismatch in FOV and the difference in resolution of the 200x150 version vs. the Seek Shot (which has a 6 pixels more in every direction).
 

Offline Spirit532

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Re: Seek announce OEM cores
« Reply #36 on: July 20, 2020, 09:25:26 pm »
Seek appear keen for people to buy the evaluation kit from Digikey rather than provide samples for evaluation.
Makes no sense to buy the eval kit from Digikey when the company refuses to talk to you about volume sales. It'd be several hundred dollars down the drain if we develop a demo product and then we can't buy the part we need to go into production.

I have been waiting for a Chinese company to develop similar modules. There are a few that have been promising for a few years (even with prototypes behind glass at CES) but none have materialized as commercial products yet AFAIK.
Are there any Chinese Company who build Thermal Sensors?
A number of companies are making similar cores commercially. Their prices are awful though. They're slowly coming out with Lepton lookalikes, but instead of $150 they cost $550(actual price given to me by one).

In Russia the start to produce there own CPUs so why not some Thermal Chips to?
They do. They don't make modules, and their sensors are still packaged in metal cans with soldered on windows, with manual per-device evacuation and sealing. Prices start around $2500 for a bare 160x120 60fps sensor with ~100mK NETD.
 
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