Thermal Imagers: ZistosHD Dual Mode Thermal Camera vs Thermal Fusion Technology

Thermal cameras have come a long way since 1929 when the first infrared-sensitive camera was invented.  This new technology was initially considered exotic and it was expensive. In the last few years, the cost of thermal imaging technology has come down significantly, although thermal imagers with reasonable image resolution can still be pricey. Thermal fusion cameras, that utilize very low-resolution thermal sensors (80×60), which are enhanced by blending in a standard video signal, can be very inexpensive when compared to medium to high resolution thermal imagers. In certain applications the performance and suitability of images that utilizing thermal fusion can be questionable.

Thermal fusion is achieved when an image from a standard video camera is layered on top of an image from a low-resolution thermal sensor. This produces an image that depicts a black & white or colorized visualization of an object in the field of view of the thermal sensor that is outlined with an edge created from the standard video camera. The two cameras work in conjunction to give you a crude thermal image with enhanced edges. When used in this manner, the low resolution thermal fusion can produce a reasonable and usable thermal image. There are many applications where this approach is effective. It is useful in applications such as inspecting breaker panels, steam pipes, machinery, engines and other inspection applications where there is sufficient light for the standard video camera to produce a good image that can be utilized in the blending process. It also helps to know what you are looking at in advance, this is not always the case in many thermal imaging applications.

Image shows Thermal Fusion under perfect conditions

The shortcomings of this approach occur when the standard video camera that is producing the edge enhancement overlay on the thermal image doesn’t have enough light to create its outline. The image produced by the thermal fusion camera is now significantly compromised and may be of minimal value. Without the outlined overlay from the standard video camera, the thermal image has such low resolution that the image ends up looking like blotches of ill-defined color.  The image may not convey enough detail to make an accurate assessment of individuals and environment. When thermal fusion is utilized in tactical or victim location applications, you may not always have enough illumination for the standard video camera to produce a reasonable image. Additional external IR or white light illuminators will help, but they still might not deliver adequate illumination in all cases. This means that you may not be able to differentiate a partial or even full image of a human, from the background environment.

Image shows Thermal Fusion without enough light to produce outlines

The ZistosHD Dual Mode Thermal Camera (THC-51D-HD) allows the operator to instantly toggle between a true 320×256 resolution thermal video camera and a 640×480 resolution, low-light, standard B&W video camera. The B&W video camera also has built in IR illumination that can further assist in low light conditions. Instead of overlaying an outline on top of a low-resolution thermal image, we use a higher resolution thermal camera in the same housing and an even higher resolution B&W low-light camera to switch between the two different images. We believe this construction is superior to thermal fusion for the following reasons.

Images show THC-51D-HD in both Thermal Mode & B&W IR Mode
  • The higher resolution thermal image produces a usable image without the need of any enhancement.
  • The secondary low-light B&W standard video camera can produce a video image that can convey additional visual details of the subject and environment.
  • In the THC-51D-HD, the Thermal and B&W IR Cameras are in the same housing. Therefore, there is no need to switch camera heads. It’s all done with system controls.
  • If the standard video camera in the thermal fusion process does not have enough light to produce a usable image the result is an extremely low-resolution thermal image which can be of limited value.
Left, Thermal Fusion Camera without enough light to produce outlines. Right, ZistosHD Dual Mode Thermal Camera in Thermal Mode in the same conditions.
  • The THC-51D-HD camera’s thermal mode can provide thermal detail regardless of ambient light levels.

All in all, despite thermal fusion being available as a new and low-cost thermal technology it may not be suitable as an imaging tool for many tactical and victim location/rescue missions, or any application where you can’t count on adequate illumination for the standard video camera to function. A higher resolution, standalone thermal image, such as the images produced by the ZistosHD THC-51D-HD camera, will in many instances be of more value than an image produced using a thermal fusion camera.

Locating and rescuing trapped victims is often a race against time…

For victim location operations… details could be the difference between life and death.

Dual Mode Thermal Camera THC-51D (with Audio Listening)*

The Dual Mode Thermal Camera allows the operator to instantly switch between remote thermal imaging and low-light, high resolution B&W video. Its built-in infrared illumination and slim 1.8” (46mm) diameter, as well as its rugged, weather-resistant design make it ideal for rescue missions. The camera housing incorporates audio listening capability.

*Please contact us regarding Int’l Export Regulations for this product.

ExplorerSCOPE ESM

The ExplorerSCOPE™ is compact, self-contained, 4-way articulating video scope with excellent low-light performance, that can generate images of objects and individuals as far as 40+ feet (12 M) away in pitch darkness. It’s a rapidly-deployable search camera system that can be inserted through openings as small as 10mm in diameter to look for victims following a collapse. The unique features of the ExplorerSCOPE translate into a faster search operation which can save lives in time-critical rescue situations.

Talkback Audio Module AAM-TB

The Talkback Audio Module enables rescue personnel to detect faint sounds of trapped victims in life-critical situations. It provides 2-way communication between the rescue team and a trapped victim. It incorporates an omni-directional microphone and an audio processor circuit to amplify low-level sounds and compress high-level sounds. The audio module has a weather-resistant enclosure and rugged, well-padded headphones.

Rescue Reel RR-166LS 

The Rescue Reel facilitates victim location and extrication by providing video and audio access into long vertical drops such as elevator shafts, wells, etc. It’s 166 feet (50M) of ultra low-loss video and audio signal cable spooled onto one portable, compact and extremely rugged reel. The Rescue Reel can also be used to connect a second display.

For more information or a free product demonstration, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone: (631) 434-1370, email: info@zistos.com or website: www.zistos.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Zistos Task Force Rescue System

The Zistos Task Force Rescue System (WS-TFRST) is used by FEMA Technical Search Specialists and other elite rescue teams for expediting victim location during search & rescue missions.

This kit features redundant low light color cameras, a two-way talkback communication device, a display and two articulating poles (one 9 foot and one 3 foot).  The two cameras are low-light sensitive, high resolution, color cameras that are submersible up to 100 feet.  Other optional components are available such as thermal imaging, longer pole lengths up to 40ft, zoom magnification and video transmission.

The system was designed for a single operator and all poles, cameras and audio components are under two inches in diameter for use through FEMA standard two inch, (50mm), core holes.  It allows search teams to optimize time and effectiveness while performing an efficient external recon and an internal search of a collapsed structure.  The system has a backup camera and pole to ensure long operations even if a component becomes damaged.

The extremely portable and modular design allows the kit to be easily hand-carried over the most challenging terrain and be instantly configured on-site to adapt to any rescue scenario.  This inherent adaptability through modular design saves time and, ultimately, lives.

For more information or a free product demonstration, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone: (631) 434-1370, email: info@zistos.com or website: www.zistos.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Zoom Rescue System for Victim Location Operations

037e1be8-064b-4b9b-bcd9-3473de1ca855See video details in Victim Location Operations that could be the difference between life and death.

Locating and rescuing trapped victims is often a race against time. Technical Search Specialists rely on video images from pole camera systems inserted into void spaces to help identify locations and the status of trapped victims. The details provided in these images are often key in recognizing a victim and saving a life.

Zoom-w-WalkAbout-Rescue-BlogThe Zoom Rescue System from Zistos can provide more detailed images— better than standard fixed focus systems. The video images generated by this system now allow rescue personnel to identify subtle signs and visual indicators that could otherwise be missed.

The self-illuminating zoom camera head has a true 10x optical zoom, which magnifies small areas in a void space. The system also includes an additional and interchangeable fixed focus camera with a smaller diameter for insertion into tighter areas.

The Zoom Rescue System comes equipped with the newly improved, sunlight viewable, WalkAbout III display that has four times the pixel resolution as the previous model. A built-in DVR for recording video onto an SD memory card is available as an option.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone: (631) 434-1370, email: info@zistos.com or website: www.zistos.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Portable Network Surveillance Camera Interview

View Extended Version Here

The Zistos Portable Network Surveillance Camera provides encrypted, wireless IP-based video surveillance. It is a self-contained, battery-operated, wireless network camera in a single, rugged, weatherproof, carry case with wheels and handle for easy transportation. It includes a rechargeable battery, telescoping pole (up to 78″ high), and infrared camera that can be remotely controlled to pan, tilt and zoom (18x Optical). No external power or wires are needed for its operation and images can be viewable on a PC or laptop.  The system allows for up to 6 PNSCs in a circuit.

It can be rapidly deployed anywhere and the system can be set up in less than five minutes. The PNSC is suitable for a wide range of applications including surveillance, border security, disaster management, and industrial site safety/security.  The system also features a motion activation alarm that when movement occurs within an area of interest (say a front door) this alarm will go off on your laptop, alerting you to the motion.

There are three different base options for the PNSC and they include, WiFi, MESH and Cellular.  The WiFi based PNSC uses a basic WiFi connection and connects to a PC/Laptop display.

The MESH based system uses a dual band radio. It still uses a WiFi connection to outside devices but it also uses a secondary mesh based transmitter to communicate with the other camera systems in the network. This makes the network more robust and can correct for network camera transmission problems dynamically as they occur.

The cellular PNSC is the most intriguing of all.  This system can be accessed from anywhere there is a cellular signal.  For example, you could be in New York with the laptop and your PNSC set up could be in California and you could still control and see the video as if you were right next to it.

The PNSC can be a valuable tool for many first responder, security and tactical missions. The PNSC can increase situational awareness in a dynamic fashion. It can allow an operator to remotely view scenes in the field where no other security or infrastructure assets exist.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone: (631) 434-1370, email: info@zistos.com or website: www.zistos.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.