It’s the world’s first phone with infrared imaging
The Cat S60 is a ruggedized 4G LTE Android handset that can survive a drop from 1.5 meters onto concrete and be taken up to 5 meters underwater, but that’s not its special feature.
The phone includes one of these, a thermal imaging sensor developed by FLIR. It sits alongside a conventional 13 megapixel image sensor and allows the phone to do a number of neat tricks.
“First major benefit is that you can see in compete darkness because it’s measuring heat or detecting heat it doesn’t require any light. For example, in this building if every light went out, you could navigate your way out using your thermal camera. You can see through obscurance like smoke and you can measure temperature without having to touch the object you’re measuring.”
It’s the same Lepton image sensor as found in the company’s add-on cameras for iPhone and Android phones. It can snap pictures, shoot video or take a series of images over time so something can be seen heating up or cooling down. It also has different color palettes.
“The different color palettes allow you to visualize the thermal contrast of a scene in different ways. It also has spot temperature measurement and you can choose an area in the scene basically to measure temperature.”
The phone does edge detection with the conventional camera image and adds that to the thermal image to help users understand what’s being seen.
The phone is designed by Britain’s Bullitt, which licenses the Cat brand name. An unlocked version will go on sale in June for about $599 in the US, excluding sales tax, or €649, including VAT.