FLIR Systems, Inc.
The acronym FLIR stands for forward looking infrared. So does the company FLIR Systems, which until now has focused on thermal imaging systems for law enforcement and the military. Last Tuesday, however, the company announced its first thermal imaging system intended for the civilian market. If you’re not familiar with thermal imaging, it works by using temperature differences between various objects in the visual field to produce an image. The images that are produced are remarkable—you can see through haze, smoke, rain, even foliage, day or night. The big obstacle for us civies has been the astronomical prices. Fortunately, as in other electronic devices, prices are coming down. The FLIR Systems consumer thermal imaging devices are designated the R-Series and start at $3,499 for the RS24 1-2 power scope. There are six scopes in the series, culminating with the RS64 2-16 power device listed at $8,999. One big difference between the FLIR Systems scopes and earlier consumer devices is that they have a 3-lens ocular, much like your run-of-the-mill daytime scope, rather than an LCD screen. That makes it easier and more natural to use them in the field. They also have a feature that highlights the hottest part of the scene in red. The hottest part is generally a human or animal form, which aids in making faster target identification. Check them out at www.FLIR.com.