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hummingbirds

FLIR Systems has reported how its thermal imaging cameras are being used by researchers at the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) Center for Urban Resilience (Los Angeles, USA) to better understand how hummingbirds have an incredible ability to maintain strength with little rest.

Understanding the physiological mechanisms hummingbirds use to cope with extreme energy requirements and limitations may open the door to broader, human medical applications such as the necessity to reduce oxygen and food consumption during long-term space travel. 

Hummingbirds need to maintain a high metabolism because they use energy at such extreme rates. Due to their small size, they consume the caloric equivalent of 300 hamburgers in nectar daily. Unless a female hummingbird is nesting, nightly temporary hibernation (Torpor) is vital to survival. Torpor involves the drastic reduction of body temperature, and nesting hummingbirds are unable to enter this state as they must use their body temperature to look after their eggs. 

Because body temperature is the primary indicator of torpidity, the researchers needed a way to monitor nests without disturbing the birds and introducing variables that could alter findings. By using FLIR C2 handheld and FLIR Vue Pro R thermal aerial surveillance drone cameras, LMU’s research team has been able to monitor birds from the air, while simultaneously capturing frequent, accurate and non-contact temperature readings. 

LMU researchers are today monitoring 26 nests daily to measure the energy associated with female hummingbirds by thermally monitoring each of the nesting birds state of torpidity.

FLIR Systems specialises in technologies that enhance perception and awareness.  The company brings innovative sensing solutions into daily life through its thermal imaging and visible light imaging technology and systems for measurement, diagnosis, location and advanced threat detection.  Its products improve the way people interact with the world around them, enhance productivity, increase energy efficiency and make the workplace safer.

FLIR Systems has six operating segments – surveillance, instruments, OEM and emerging markets, maritime, security and finally, detection. Of these six, ‘instruments’ is of greatest interest to trade and industry and the second largest segment in the company’s portfolio. This division provides devices that image, measure and assess thermal energy, gases and other environmental elements for industrial, commercial and scientific applications.

These products are manufactured across five production sites, three in the USA and two in Europe; Sweden and Estonia.

A model to suit every application and budget
The options that FLIR Systems provides for measuring temperature and studying thermal performance have never been greater.  Not only does the company offer a huge range of models to suit all thermal application needs but the technology is also affordable and very easy to use.  Thermal cameras now come in various shapes, sizes and degrees of sophistication and FLIR continues to invest heavily in the development of new and complementary technologies to differentiate itself from competitors.

An important milestone in the development of thermal imaging has been the introduction of the FLIR Lepton® core, a micro longwave detector, the size of a mobile SIM.  This has allowed thermal imaging to be repackaged to meet the needs of an even wider audience and, in combination with another new technology called Infrared Guided Measurement – IGM™ – has led to the development of a range of test and measurement meters with imaging capability.

Another important growth area for FLIR thermal imaging is in continuous monitoring to assure quality and safety.  Through its introduction of discrete fixed mounted thermal cameras which are fully compliant industry standard plug-and-play protocols, FLIR Systems has provided industry with infrared machine vision which is instantly ready for quick and easy network installation.

Protecting assets and people from fire is an area for which thermal imaging is least known but, thanks to FLIR Systems’ development, it is now one of the most cost-effective methods available.  Its application flexibility and rapid return on investment present an attractive proposition for any site or safety manager.

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