Feature image of the IR camera in its case on an Odroid Go

Coronavirus screening with the Odroid Go thermal IR camera

Thermal IR (infrared) cameras are obviously exciting gadgets for lots of uses, including looking for heat loss in buildings, studying heat transfer, or even just seeing how hot your cup of tea is. But, with all the worries these days around coronavirus and COVID, they have obvious uses in screening yourself, your family and others for fever. The problem is that they can be expensive, so why not do it on the cheap using the relatively inexpensive Odroid Go open-source thermal camera project? If so, here’s the sort of data you can expect to get from it: in this case I can be pretty sure I don’t have a fever 🙂

A thermal IR scan of a face on the Odroid Go screen

The Odroid Go thermal camera is a simple, yet very useful, IR (infrared) thermal camera project for the inexpensive Odroid Go handheld ESP32 system. It allows saving of data to an SD card as well as having a Bluetooth interface to wirelessly get data off the camera to a computer, tablet or mobile phone. It’s based on the MLX90640 32×24 pixel infrared thermal array modules that you can get relatively inexpensively many places online. Here’s a short list of some of it’s features:

  • Onscreen display of the IR image, with a movable cursor to let you query the temperature for any single pixel (press up, down, left and right on the + control to move the cursor).
  • A range of colour maps, which are easily added to in the Arduino code.
  • A zoom button so you can switch the IR image to/from full-screen mode.
  • Saving of data to the SD card on your ODroid GO in text CSV format for later analysis.
  • A fever screening colour map, which shows temperatures above 36C in red to indicate when checking for a fever may be necessary (not for medical diagnosis).
  • In fever checking mode IR images with temperatures above 36C are indicated by an audible beep, to help with rapid screening of your family and friends.
  • An on-screen battery indicator, so you know when to recharge your GO.
  • A Bluetooth interface that lets you take full control of the IR camera, including transferring the IR data to a PC as ASCII text or binary data.
  • 3D printing STL files to make a forward-facing or rear-facing case to protect your thermal IR module.
The finished thermal camera module on an Odroid Go

It’s also quite simple to construct the camera, with very little soldering. All you need is four pieces of wire, the IR camera module, a small piece of Veroboard (a.k.a. stripboard), plus 10 0.1″ header pins in a strip, and the circuit is done! There’s two different 3D printed case versions in the project that make it easy to protect your IR module: for example below is the IR module fitted into the rear-facing case version (the inside of the photo above).

The IR module fixed inside the 3D printed case

If you feel like having a go at building your own Odroid Go thermal IR camera, whether for virus screening, energy management or other uses just click on the link below to visit the Github page. You’ll find lots of information there including the code and 3D printed case project files 🙂

Click here to view the project on github.

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