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Tree hugging Koalas

Every one knows how hot the Australian wilderness can get – here at Scantherma we’ve certainly had more than our fair share of experience. We usually slip, slop, slap and find cover to escape the heat, but what if you’re a little furry marsupial?

Most Australian fauna will hide from the sun by burrowing underground, seeking shelter in caves or invading our backyard swimming pools.

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No this is not a pool ornament or a deflated pool toy. It’s a REAL crocodile.

 

But what do you do if you live most of your life in a tree?

Koalas (Drop Bears) have until recently, been thought of as lazy, cute fuzzy little creatures that live in trees, and only come down to find another tree to climb up. They’re often seen clinging onto tree trunks, eating and sleeping. But now, thanks to research done by the University of Melbourne’s Zoology department, it turns out that there’s a deeper reason why Koalas hug trees so tight, especially in the summer. And it’s not because they’re lonely.

Sleepy Koala

During your average heat wave, the temperature in the Australian bush can reach over 50 degrees C, and around 45 degrees C in the shade.  To survive this blistering climate, Koalas do what they do best, hug trees.

The reason is simple. Depsite the unbearable heat, a large tree’s core temperature stays comparatively low. This makes it very convenient for the Koala as the tree is both its shelter and food source.

Below are some thermal images taken by Steve Griffiths that show the Koalas in action, or rather no-action and just laying there cooling down.

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It can be clearly seen here that the tree trunk in shades of purple is much, much cooler than the Koala’s body.

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Both a cooler and a bed, oh and a kitchen, and maybe many other things. This tree is everything to the Koala.

 

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Looks like Koalas have the ideal life style.

So next time you see a Koala hanging out, remember that it is actually working hard to cool down by using its surroundings and conserving energy and water. Not so lazy after all!

If you would like to find out more about Thermal Imagery and how it can help you visit our Thermal Imaging page here, or come and visit us at our Perth office and one of our friendly technicians will gladly assist.

Cooler Roofs Reduce CO2 Emissions

As cool as a shiny new black sports car is there is wisdom in choosing one with a white paint job. With the sun bombarding the cars body the black paint will naturally absorb more of that energy and the white car will reflect it. This for some is a matter of life and death in the middle of summer as the inside of their cars transform into state of the art pizza ovens while they’re parked.

Slowly a similar and common theme is becoming apparent with in the building construction industry. More and more new buildings are having light coloured roofs installed instead of the standard darker colours.

Common sense seems to be prevailing at last and now also backed up with research. Lighter coloured roofs reflect more sunlight there fore keeping the building interior cooler. Coupled with ceiling and wall insulation, blinds and properly treated windows the air-conditioner will be under less stress in the middle of summer thereby cutting down usage leading to the drop in CO2 emissions. In fact white coloured roofs are possibly the quickest and cheapest way to start reducing house hold CO2 emissions. Along with cooling the interior of the building by reflecting heat radiation they also reduce what is called the urban heat island effect. This effect can be caused by such things as darker coloured roofs absorbing heat and retaining it through out the day and slowly releasing that energy into the air thereby raising the ambient temperature of that area. Entire cities can become heated this way and this can be detrimental for the energy efficiency of the city as a hole.

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Aerial Thermal images showing the cooler roofs in shades of blue reflecting the heat. Note that most other house roofs are almost as hot as the road surface which is by far the hottest.

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Same as above, the houses with the lighter coloured roofs reflect more heat than those with darker colours.

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Not as many light coloured roofs in this area. Although coolour matters most, material is also a vital factor. Metal roofs will reflect more than tile or slate.

Extensive studies, especially in the United States, have now caused governments to act. For instance in the US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a series of initiatives at the Department of Energy to more broadly implement cool roof technologies on DOE facilities and buildings across the federal government. Other governments have also taken action and have started encouraging local builders to start installing white roofs along with light coloured exterior finishes.

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The people of the Island of Santorini have the idea.

 

FLIR revamps thermal camera range – i-Series discontinued, new Ex-Series launches

The new Ex-series cameras

World leading thermal camera manufacturer, FLIR,  are changing the market with the launch of the new Ex-series handheld thermal cameras. The new models E4, E5 E6 and E8 are a leap ahead in the function and flexibility of handheld thermographic tools.

With IR resolutions ranging from 80 x 60 pixels to 320 x 240 pixels for the new E8 model, is the first time FLIR has offered this resolution for pricing under $10,000 here in Australia.

The four new cameras in the Ex-series are replacing the old i Series cameras, which are now discontinued. The Ex-series also introduce new functionality above what the old i Series delivered including a revamped and simpler UI (user interface). In addition, all new Ex-series cameras come with an integrated a 1.3 Megapixel digital camera for additional functionality.

Patented MSX technology

One of the greatest leaps forward with the new Ex-series is the incorporation of FLIR’s patented MSX multi-spectral enhancement feature. This technology is unique only to FLIR cameras and adds an extra dimension to thermal imaging technology, particularly for domestic and industrial users.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX

 

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Other changes to the Ex series

The Exx-series has also undergone some changes with the dropping of the E30 and upgrades to the E40, E50 and E60 cameras. While the IR resolution and many aspects such as inbuilt WiFi connectivity and manual focus don’t change. The upgraded Ex-Series cameras all now include:

  • MSX image technology
  • Auto orientation to switch between landscape and portrait views.
The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new Exx series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new E series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

 

Our FLIR Ex-Series videos.

You can view more of our FLIR thermal Camera videos on our YouTube channel here. Or if you would like more information on our range of FLIR products you can visit our thermal camera website at www.australianthermalcameras.com.au.

Alternatively you can visit or contact our Perth office here and one of our friendly technicians will be glad to help.

FLIR’s prototype iPhone Thermal Camera attachment

Almost every one has a smart phone these days and among the most popular is the apple iPhone.

The iPhone is a sleek robust user friendly device that allows you to play games, surf the net, take photos and make the occasional phone call. Now it can do one more thing.

With the Help of FLIR you can now use your iPhone to take Infrared Images. The FLIR prototype iPhone attachment allows the user to look at the world around them in the infrared spectrum and take thermal images of practically anything they can point at.

 

FLIR iPhone Thermal Camera

FLIR iPhone Thermal Camera

At the heart of the unit sits FLIR’s new Quark core which is small enough at three quarters of an inch to enable the capture of images at .3 megapixels or 640 x 480 pixels. A 13 mm lens mounted on the back just above the iPhone’s own camera allows the user to capture detail from more 100 meters away. The unit also comes with it’s own battery supply so it won’t put an extra burden on the iPhone’s power.

Although this is a commercial prototype it has caught the eye of the military who want it implemented onto troop gear such as guns and helmets. But for this prototype to become commercially viable it will ultimately have to drop a few pounds. The image quality and resolution, and the thermal sensitivity will suffer here in order to make the devices cheap enough to build thus making them affordable for the target market.

FLIR’s iPhone Thermal Camera attachment will be available in the very near future.

 

Study uses MODIS satellite to assess urban heat flux

In the past couple of years, we have had many projects using MODIS and ASTER imagery for mineral exploration. However it is important to also highlight other ways which these satellites can be used to study human geography and environmental science. The following is an interesting article from Science Daily about using the MODIS satellite to study urban heat flux in USA.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100201145445.htm

Scantherma offers niche training courses catering for human geographers and urban planners who are interesting in the importance of using thermal technology in their field. Please contact us at info@scantherma for further information or visit our training page: http://www.scantherma.com.au/remote-sensing/training-program-development/