Thermal cameras from FLIR Infrared Cameras & Thermal Imaging are being used by Scitech, an award-winning, hands-on science centre based in Perth to demonstrate the real-life applications of infrared thermography.
As Western Australia's leading science education centre, Scitech offers engaging and interactive science experiences for visitors of all ages through exhibitions, outreach programs and services designed to increase interest and participation in science and technology. Since opening its doors in 1988, Scitech has grown from a small Perth attraction to Western Australia’s leading science communication provider with around 300,000 visitors coming through the centre, and an additional 190,000+ people located in regional and remote Western Australia benefiting from a wide variety of practical science workshops, lessons and activities through Scitech’s travelling science programs, known as Outreach.
Scitech bought a Thermovision A40V composite camera with a 45-degree field of view lens for an exhibit known as ‘The Infrared Wall’ in 2006. This exhibit was part of a ‘Patterns of Life’ exhibition gallery, which offered visitors a range of interactive exhibits using images, colour, lighting and sounds.
Denham Dunstall, Scitech's Director of Technology Design and Development explained that a FLIR Systems camera was chosen because it came with a local supplier and support, and also met their specific requirements. All of Scitech’s exhibits are developed with an aim to show visitors how various science and technology concepts work in domestic and industrial environments. The infrared thermography exhibit demonstrates the application of the same real-life technology being used for police surveillance, firefighting, medical imaging and diagnosis, pollution detection, power line maintenance and identifying problems with insulation in buildings.
Denham adds that the infrared real-time images of visitors are projected life-size on a 3m x 2m screen, which is facilitated by the wide-angle lens of the A40V as it allows for a shorter distance between the camera and screen, reducing the exhibit footprint in the gallery. Moreover, the A40V’s ability to store settings was an advantage in an exhibit where the unit was not operated manually by a trained operator.
Two hot and cold panels in the exhibit have been provided to enable visitors to place their hands on either panel to see via the infrared camera how their body temperature is affected. Hot areas of the body are shown as red or white, mid-range temperatures as green or blue, and cool areas as purple or black.
Having decided to take the same hands-on experience on the road around WA, Scitech invested in another infrared camera, the FLIR B200 in late 2009 for its Outreach science program. This FLIR B200 camera has been incorporated into a smaller portable exhibit and uses a video monitor to project visitors’ images. Price and portability were the key reasons for choosing the B200 for their travelling Outreach program.
Denham concludes that both the A40V and the FLIR B200 thermal imaging cameras have proven to be easy to use and perfect for their requirements as well. The science centre is also pleased with the service provided by FLIR and its representative Steve Blott.