Thermal Camera interfacing with Raspberry Pi

A project log for SafeRanger

Thermal vision and Gas sensor based rover to detect abnormal Temperature and Gas Leaks

Varun SureshVarun Suresh 07/06/2017 at 14:180 Comments

FLIR is the most expensive component used in our system. But it is a very vital element. The FLIR Lepton thermal camera is rather a new innovation which has brought down the cost of Thermal imaging by tenfold. This makes our vision of a normal tank-based mini rover, a reality.

FLIR LeptonRaspberry Pi is a core component of our system. I wanted to use the Raspberry Pi in this project because it is a miniature computer, designed for education which has more functions for a very reasonable price. I used Raspberry Pi micro-controller to program Thermal camera and Gas Sensor. FLIR Lepton Thermal Camera is connected to Raspberry Pi using I2C interface.

Connections: Connect SDA, SCL of ADC to the raspberry pi 2 respectively and Vin, Gnd to 3.3V and Gnd. Follow the instructions of the FLIR thermal module hookup instruction in Sparkfun. 

Link : flir-lepton-hookup-guide 

FLIR Lepton has 8 GPIO pins. As per the connection diagram, connect it with F/F jumper wires.

Software Prerequisites :

    1. Python 2.7
    2. Qt
    3. VNC

Once the coding part is done, a pop-up window displaying thermal image in 80x60 pixel resolution will be opened.

Unlike the mobile phone cameras, it has a bad resolution but the new models of FLIR are being launched with better price and better resolution.


The current best way to record the video produced by the FLIR Lepton camera is to connect the raspberry to a PC or laptop. That is easily achievable using VNC (Virtual Network Computing). VNC allows a user to remotely control the desktop interface of another computer. Other advantages of using VNC with Raspberry are: