Calibrating Thermal Cameras With Hot Patterned Objects

Thermal cameras are great if you want to get an idea of what’s hot and what’s not. If you want to use a thermal camera for certain machine vision tasks, though, you generally need to do a geometric calibration to understand what the camera is seeing and correct for lens distortion. [Henry Zhang] has shared various methods of doing just that.

It’s all about generating a geometrically-regular thermal pattern.

To calibrate a thermal camera, first you need a thermal pattern. This is like typical test image for a camera or screen, but with temperatures instead of colors. [Henry] explains several methods for doing this. One involves using a grid of nichrome wires to create a thermal pattern for calibration purposes. Another uses discs of cold aluminium inserted into a foam board. Even a simple checkerboard can work, with the black spaces heating up more from ambient sunlight than their neighbouring white spots. [Henry] then explains the mathematical techniques used for calibrating based on these patterns.

It’s a useful primer on the topic if you’re working with thermal camera systems. We’ve looked at some other interesting machine vision topics before, too. If you’ve got any great thermal imaging tips of your own, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!


Luis Robinson

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