Thermal imaging cameras, also known as infrared cameras, detect the heat given off by an object or person.
Everything we encounter gives off thermal energy. The hotter the object, the more thermal energy it emits. This emitted thermal energy is called a "heat signature." When objects have different heat signatures, they are displayed in different colors, which makes detecting warm-blooded animals (including people) against cooler surroundings quick and easy.
Thermal imaging cameras have lenses, just like visible light cameras. But in the case of thermal detection, the lenses focus waves from infrared energy onto an infrared sensor array. Thousands of sensors on the array convert the infrared energy into electrical signals, which create a video image. The infrared camera measures and displays a "thermal profile" of objects in relation to the temperature of any surrounding objects.
Thermal imaging technology also allows users to detect targets by cutting through snow, dust, smoke, fog, haze, and other atmospheric obscurants.
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