A company called FLIR is behind what it says is the world’s first thermal-imaging smartphone, called the Cat S60.

No, it’s not a phone designed to photograph cats (although you could do that). It’s “Cat” as in the brand of rugged construction machines that dig giant holes in the ground.

Putting a heat-vision camera into a $599 smartphone might sound like a gimmick, but we think it’s pretty cool — thermal photography has a deep history of great applications.

Thermographic cameras record infrared light, which we can often feel as warmth on our skin — but the human eye can’t detect. The new Cat S60 camera might be able to take photos like this.

Thermographic cameras record infrared light, which we can often feel as warmth on our skin — but the human eye can't detect. The new Cat S60 camera might be able to take photos like this.

It’s also useful to doctors. Infrared can reveal inflammation and restricted blood flow that might be causing pain or other health problems.
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Beyond a camera in your pocket, there are more advanced and incredible applications for thermal photography.
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