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The world's first phone with a built-in thermal camera is kinda hot

The name Cat is usually associated with machinery, so it’s rather fitting that it has the world’s first smartphone with a built-in thermal camera. Announced earlier in the week, it’s on show at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, and it offers the first glimpse at this type of technology directly within a phone.

Cat has built Flir’s standalone thermal camera into the body of the phone, alongside a regular smartphone camera. It allows the S60 to capture a live thermal image and measure surface temperatures, all while recording both stills and video. The resolution of images might be limited to VGA (640 x 480), but the use cases are not. Cat is aiming this at engineers and emergency services personnel, and it’s easy to see it will be a useful addition.

One example where thermal imaging on a smartphone could be useful is for firefighters looking to rescue people in smoke, or simply a construction worker trying to figure out if newly installed insulation is actually working. It’s clearly a niche product for now, but if we start to see Flir’s cameras in more smartphones then there’s potential for developers to take an interest and develop apps and games for thermal imaging that regular consumers might use.

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