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A thermal flashlight measures temperature using a non-contact infrared sensor and uses a red-green-blue LED light to turn red for hot and blue for cold. The light “paints” surface temperatures directly onto the materials under examination, making the data easy to understand. With long exposure photography, users can “see” the temperature of their research area.

The open-source design and code for the thermal flashlights were created by Public Laboratory for Open Technology, and modified to fit the context of Newfoundland. We used the technology to monitor thermal (heat) pollution discharged from a power plant into the ocean, to find heat leaks, to evaluate the insulation of residences, and to monitor the very different temperatures in classrooms. Below are projects, teaching materials, and instructions on how to build and use a thermal flashlight.

Civic Lab Projects

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Thermal Pollution at Holyrood Electricity Generating Station Heat Leaks as Urban Public Commons