Performance assessment of low-cost thermal cameras for medical applications

E. Villa; N. Arteaga-Marrero; J. Ruiz-Alzola
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Thermal imaging is a promising technology in the medical field. Recent developments in low-cost infrared (IR) sensors, compatible with smartphones, provide competitive advantages for home-monitoring applications. However, these sensors present reduced capabilities compared to more expensive high-end devices. In this work, the characterization of thermal cameras is described and carried out. This characterization includes non-uniformity (NU) effects and correction as well as the thermal cameras’ dependence on room temperature, noise-equivalent temperature difference (NETD), and response curve stability with temperature. Results show that low-cost thermal cameras offer good performance, especially when used in temperature-controlled environments, providing evidence of the suitability of such sensors for medical applications, particularly in the assessment of diabetic foot ulcers on which we focused this study.

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