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I worked on OLPC in 2007. Here is my user page from that time.
Seeing heat - the current state of thermal imaging, and coming educational opportunities.
draft in progress (sort of)
- Colors: UV can be cute (an insect's view of flowers), and near-IR inexpensively accessible (tweak webcam filters). Both can yield interesting images, and there are some possible uses (eg, crop health). But they seem, in general, boring and hard to interpret. Thermal IR, being able to see how warm or cold things are, is much more interesting. Regrettably, it's also been much more expensive, but that is now changing.
- You can see... a cat's footprints on a cold floor; your handprint on a wall; dark things becoming warm in the sun; where heat is escaping from a jacket; or from a building; cold ears; dampness in walls and ground; etc, etc. Unlike other non-visible light, how warm things are is widely understandable and meaningful.
- Cost: Thermographic cameras have been order-$10,000 industrial/military items for some decades. Finally, there are now ~$1000 units targeted at home inspection. So single units might be purchased by wealthy schools. Over the next couple of years, the market is expected to move downscale from home inspection, to general contractors, and finally to home owners. Perhaps flattening out around a couple of hundred dollars.