GRID-EYE BLE-capable thermal camera

A tiny, sub-$100 8x8 pixel thermal camera with BLE connectivity

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Ever since I was little, I've wanted a thermal camera. But until recently, it has been very difficult to find anything available for under $6000 or so - and even today, an entry-level (80x60 resolution!) thermal camera is about a grand.

I was super-excited when I saw the IR Blue project emerge on Kickstarter ( ) - I backed it, and played around with a couple MLX90620 16x4 thermal arrays. But the sensor itself was around $80, and it was pretty difficult (for me) to interface with.

I recently found the Panasonic Grid-Eye ( ) series of 8x8 thermal arrays and have found them delightfully easy to work with. The project is a board I made that combined the Grid-Eye sensor with an OLED display, all controlled by an Arduino variant I've been enjoying working with, the RFDuino.

Here's a video demonstration (this is an earlier version of the firmware, the current version shows the temperatures in higher resolution)

...and here is a link to the handwritten system diagram:

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  • At a stopping place

    AKA10/31/2014 at 18:00 0 comments

    Hi, I'd like to thank everyone for their kind support and thoughtful comments - what an excellent community!

    This will probably be the last project log for this one. I wasn't able to get enough time before the Prize deadline to make my Android app work (I am really, really bad at Android!), and to be honest, I didn't have much more in store for this project beyond an app that would let you save images.

    I'd still love to see someone try to make one, or make a better one, and will try to respond quickly to any questions posted here.

    I love the format of, so I will be putting subsequent projects up here, contest or not!

    Thanks again,


  • Licenses used in this project

    AKA08/20/2014 at 13:03 0 comments

    This project is based, conceptually, on the excellent IR-Blue Kickstarter from a few years ago (although it uses none of the same code).

    I had thought I remembered all Adafruit code being MIT-licensed, but upon checking I seem to be wrong. I'm using a version of Adafruit's SSD1306 driver library that I modified for the RFDuino's ARM can find a link to the modified library in the "External links" part of the project page.

    The only other code that I think might be worth citing is the demo Arduino code that is included in the Grid-Eye datasheet from Panasonic - I couldn't find a license on that code, and I don't think I'm copying it linearly, more just using it as a reference.

    I'm always anxious about attribution because I don't want to offend of slight anyone - all the electronics and code that I am able to do is only by virtue of many, many others sharing their work, so I'm hoping to participate in kind.

  • Simplicity

    AKA08/17/2014 at 23:52 0 comments

    I just wanted to make a remark about the scope of this project: I'm trying to keep it quite simple for a number of reasons.

    One reason is that I'd like other people to be able to make it - I've used and benefited from a lot of open source hardware and software in the past, and I'd like to try in earnest to give back to the communities that share their work. Making a project with a small component count and a really simple premise seems like the best way to make a project "buildable" for lots of people.

    I'm also not a professional electrical engineer (electronics are a part of my job, but I"m more of an informed faker), so lots of parts of this project were very new to me, including the SMD soldering, i2c implementation, and board fabrication. Avoiding things like a power-management IC that would allow for LiPo charging made this project way more approachable than a fully-engineered kickstarter-ready product.

    So anyways, if you were wondering about a menu function, or an on/off switch, or a battery-recharging circuit, or a threshold/alarm mode, the answer is that those are great ideas not implemented here - but you should try them yourself!

  • Added generic breakout board

    AKA08/06/2014 at 18:02 0 comments

    ...some people expressed interest in playing around with the GRID-EYE sensor, so I added the breakout board I designed to this project's Github repo. You can find it here:

  • Next up: Android app

    AKA07/04/2014 at 02:24 0 comments

    Just a quick note that the next step in this project is to make an Android app that receives each frame and displays it / saves it / streams it / etc. I'll have a longer post soon in which I work out a feasible featureset for the first version of the app.

    I also realized that I positioned the RFD22301 unit on the board in a way that might diminish longer-range RF performance, although in experience so far I've had no trouble connecting with a nearby Android. If time allows, I'll make another version of the board with on/off switch, a repositioned RFD22301, and (possibly) a charging circuit.

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Enjoy this project?



rappling wrote 09/05/2014 at 03:03 point
Don't bother. They will not sell it to me. Probably because other divisions in the company I work for have defense contracts.

  Are you sure? yes | no

rappling wrote 09/04/2014 at 03:36 point
Do you have a datasheet for the Grid-eye? I looked high and low. The only thing I could find was the mechanical, packaging, and handling information.

Still waiting on my sensor. Had to sign an agreement saying that I would not use it to make a weapon with it.

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AKA wrote 09/04/2014 at 14:56 point
Yeah, I wish they were easier to procure. That agreement is apparently why Sparkfun, etc do not carry it.
I'll look for my datasheet (I remember it took some real searching!) and post it here when I find it...

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FLAGG wrote 09/14/2014 at 15:17 point

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Jasmine Brackett wrote 08/15/2014 at 23:36 point
Hello AKA, please review your project documentation to ensure it has everything we require for it to be considered for the next round of The Hackaday Prize.

By August 20th you must have the following info on your project page:
- A video. It should be less than 2 minutes long describing your project. Put it on YouTube (or Youku), and add a link to it on your project page. This is done by editing your project (edit link is at the top of your project page) and adding it as an "External Link"
- At least 4 Project Logs
- A system design document. Please highlight it in the project details so we can find it easily.
- Links to code repositories, and remember to mention any licenses or permissions needed for your project. For example, if you are using software libraries you need to document that information in the details.

You should also try to highlight how your project is 'Connected' and 'Open' in the details and video.

There are a couple of tutorial video's with more info here:

Good luck!

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AKA wrote 08/20/2014 at 13:09 point
Hi Jasmine, thanks for the heads-up. I think I have done everything now, but will be checking in and adding details over the course of the day if necessary. Excited to see everyone's entries!

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Tony E. Nazzal wrote 08/01/2014 at 04:26 point
Nice project, I would like to mount a grid-eye on my bluetooth HMD.

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AKA wrote 08/06/2014 at 18:00 point
That's a great idea! I updated the Github repo with an Eagle file for a more generic grideye breakout board - you can get to it here:

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PointyOintment wrote 07/01/2014 at 03:01 point
Your links don't work. I suggest putting a space before the ")"s.

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AKA wrote 07/04/2014 at 02:20 point
Thank you for letting me know! Should be fixed now.

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Adam Fabio wrote 06/17/2014 at 03:53 point
I'm a fan of low cost thermal cameras as well - They can be life savers for catching things like electrical issues before they become fires. Don't'forget to upload some videos of your newer firmware at work, and thanks for submitting your project to The Hackaday Prize!

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AKA wrote 07/11/2014 at 18:42 point
Thanks for the kind words, Adam! I'll be posting more video soon, along with some assembly notes and photos.
One unexpected (but very common!) use I've found for the GRIDEYE is seeing if I'm running my lathe at the wrong speed: I'll check the temperature every ten minutes or so, and if I see the bearings heating up more than the rest of the housing, I know I'm stressing them out...

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