Fried first noticed the Grid-EYE on the catalogue website for Digi-Key, an electronic components distributor. At the time, Adafruit was stocking various infrared sensors, but those only had the capability for single-point temperature reading. Customers wanted something with a greater potential for additional uses and customization beyond the limits of a single pixel. Specifically, Adafruit recognized a demand for the ability to make an infrared (IR) camera, which requires the multiple points made available through additional pixels.
“You’ll see the IR cameras that plug in to phones,” Fried said. “They’re really expensive and super fancy.”
When Fried discovered the Grid-EYE, she saw the potential to give customers new functionality for a reasonable price. The Grid-EYE’s 8×8 pixels offered just enough detail to detect shapes, identify multiple heat sources, or find the “hot-spot” of an area without having to scan a single pixel across any given space. Furthermore, the sensor was not overly complex in a way that would inflate its price. “It’s really easy to pick and place,” Fried said.
Special thanks to Panasonic: Jeffrey Howell, Andrew Sheldon, Weld Royal, Kevin Leonard, Eric Johnsrud, Nick DeGaetano and everyone we met when visiting Panasonic. And thanks to Digi-key: Dave Doherty, Jim Ricciardelli, David Sandys, Brooks Vigen, Kevin Walseth,and the entire Digi-Key team who introduced us to Panasonic.
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