Imaging Energy with Infrared Thermography
by Christina Badal
Infrared thermography (IRT), or thermal imaging, utilizes cameras that can detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since infrared radiation is emitted by all objects above absolute zero, thermography makes it possible to see one’s environment even in the dark. In other words, thermography allows us to see the world as embodied energy.
Thermal imaging has traditionally been reserved for applications like clinical diagnostics and military surveillance, but it has also come to be used for everything from Predator-vision and videos of Formula-1 race cars burning rubber to, most recently, iPhone camera add-ons. The technology raises the question of what other types of “energy imaging” might be possible in the near future, and whether these innovations can help us to more holistically understand our world as a highly dynamic and energetic place.