Testo SuperResolution: Big Upgrade, Small Price

What if your infrared camera could see four times as much detail as it does now? You could stand farther away from potentially hazardous objects while maintaining quality images and temperature data. You could see finer, more intricate details without having to purchase a more expensive camera. Whether scanning roofs to check for moisture or imaging electrical components, the benefit of greater resolution cannot be overlooked: it allows the user to see more detail because it more accurately represents the temperature patterns on the surface of the object. A lower resolution thermal camera may be an effective tool for the task at hand, but a camera with higher resolution could reveal even more. Yet as infrared camera resolution increases, so does the price–almost exponentially. If you own a Testo thermal imager, however, you can take advantage of their innovative SuperResolution upgrade, and for just $395 your Testo camera will capture four times more pixels.

Testo SuperResolution with Testo 882

Taken with a Testo 882 Thermal Imager, the image on the left is the standard 320 x 240 resolution, while to the right is the same image at 640 x 480 using SuperResolution. Note better definition on balusters and in areas missing insulation. Click to see larger image.

Available for all Testo thermal cameras is SuperResolution, a technological innovation that effectively increases infrared resolution by four times, and improves the instantaneous field of view (IFOV) by a factor of 1.6. For instance, the Testo 870 has a resolution of 160 x 120 (19,200 pixels). Yet with SuperResolution the 870 is imaging at a true 320 x 240 resolution (76,800 pixels), and its spot size goes from 1.3” at 10 yards to 0.8” at the same distance. Consider for a moment what kind of value this might add to a Testo thermal imager. The Testo 882 effectively goes from being a 320 x 240 camera to a 640 x 480 camera. And the Testo 890, normally with 640 x 480 resolution, becomes a full mega-pixel camera with 1280 x 960 resolution and 1,228,800 pixels.

SuperResolution works by combining two image-enhancing processes, super-sampling and deconvolution. During super-sampling, the camera takes five fully radiometric images of the object being viewed in less than half a second. Because of the subtle movements of the user’s hand, these images are slightly misaligned. The misalignment of the images provides opportunities to capture data that could have been lost in between sensors on the detector if only one image were being taken. An algorithm is used to combine the five images and their temperature data into one image containing significantly more thermal measurements. Because a large number of the “gaps” in each of the thermal images are now covered by measurements from the other images, the resulting combined image is a much more accurate representation of the object being measured. This is not an interpolation process in which artificial, interim values are presented as actual values. Super-sampling collects more thermal data and combines it into a new, detail rich image.

Testo SuperResolution Electronics

Hot spots and small details are much clearer in the 620 x 480 SuperResolution image (right). The original image is 320 x 240 (left). Click to enlarge.

The second aspect of SuperResolution is the process of deconvolution. Using the image captured, the known properties of the lens, and the thermal imager being used, the optical distortion can be calculated using an algorithm developed by Testo. The calculated distortion is then eliminated from the input signal so it better represents the infrared radiation being emitted by the object of interest. The result is a cleaner, sharper image due to reduced optical noise and distortion.

As a $395 upgrade, SuperResolution should be an irresistible option to anyone owning or purchasing a Testo infrared camera. SuperResolution decreases the effective spot measurement size, and increases fourfold the amount of data captured with each image. Objects that are too small or too far away to be accurately measured can now be imaged with confidence. SuperResolution does have some limitations, though. If trying to measure an object moving at high speeds, the images may be too far off to be realigned. Also, the images enhanced with SuperResolution can only be viewed with Testo’s PC software, and not on the camera itself. Yet the vastly improved thermal resolution available for analysis and reporting far outweighs these minor limitations. Four times more pixels for $395? Where do I sign?

The Testo SuperResolution upgrade is available for all new Testo cameras. Existing cameras that can be upgraded include the Testo 870, Testo 875, Testo 876, Testo 881, Testo 882, Testo 885, and Testo 890 infrared cameras.

SuperResolution Camera Comparison

The image on the left is from a 160 x 120 Testo camera, while the image to the right is enhanced with SuperResolution, effectively 320 x 240 resolution. Click to enlarge.

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