Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

From Home Security to Homeland Security

Day or night, thermal security cameras keep watch on the borders and in your neighborhoods
FLIR Systems
Thermal security cameras make video images from heat, not reflected light, so they can see clearly night and day.
Figure 2: Right:Security lights and infrared illuminators (image on left)leave large areas uncovered that intruders can exploit to gain access to sensitive facilities.
Thermal security cameras are available in dome, fixed-site, pan/tilt, and handheld configurations.
Fixed-site thermal security cameras provide constant surveillance over fixed points like access areas and sensitive facilities. This one is watching over a sensitive harbor entrance.
Inexpensive hand-held thermal cameras provide 24-hour vision to homeowners and security professionals alike.
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By David Lee

The answer to the question, “Which one is right for me?” is usually both/and, not either/or. Integrating fixed-site and pan/tilt camera systems together creates a synergy realized in much greater security than either could provide alone.

Often, fixed site cameras and pan/tilt cameras are networked together with a video analytics package so that intruders detected by a shorter range fixed-site camera installed along a perimeter can be investigated more thoroughly with the longer range pan/tilt camera installed in a more central location.

Because of their high-contrast video output, security professionals have found that thermal security cameras work very well with video analytics, providing more reliable alarming with fewer false reports than visible-light cameras, even during the day.

Thermal security cameras are not quite ubiquitous throughout the breadth of Homeland Security applications, but – thanks to recent reductions in price and increases in capability – they’re getting there. Fixed-site, network-ready thermal cameras that cost more than $30,000 only a few years ago are now available for less than $5,000.

As the cost of thermal security technology continues to decline, as cameras themselves get smaller and smaller, applications for this technology will continue to grow. Today, military UAVs carrying thermal cameras smaller than a cell phone are in constant use in Southwest Asia; these could easily be used to patrol national borders and extended facility perimeters.



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