Building a Thermal Imaging System with the Raspberry Pi 3


Raspberry Pi 2 or 3     Micro SD Card      Power Supply      Sense Hat    Grid-Eye



Make sure your Raspberry Pi is already setup. If not check my tutorial on how to setup a Raspberry Pi.
The project is straightforward and simple, so in the interests of efficiency this report won’t have a lot of text! To build this project, a Pi 3 and a Sense HAT is needed, and the Grid-Eye evaluation kit. I already had the Pi 3 and Sense HAT (and the associated memory card and power supply) as part of the Pi 3 IBM IoT Learner Kit. The Grid-EYE evaluation board is available separately. The one I had AMG8834 Grid-EYE Evaluation Module can detect humans up to 7 metres away.

The evaluation board contains the Grid-EYE, a pre-programmed microcontroller and Bluetooth Smart capability. Basically nothing needs to be done with the eval board except plug it into a power supply! The supply can be a 5V mobile phone charger or a PC USB port. The photo here shows the Grid-EYE evaluation board. It is about the footprint of a playing card. The Grid-EYE module itself is very small, about 12mm on its longest dimension.

Since the Pi 3 also has Bluetooth Smart capability, the Grid-EYE board connects to the Pi using this. This is great because it means that the imaging can be performed remotely. The Pi 3 is responsible for translating the 8x8 array of values into colours and sending them to the Sense HAT’s display. The Pi 3 also runs a little web server so any web browser (e.g. PC or mobile phone) can be used to connect to the Pi and view the images live. Check out the short video (1.5 mins) for some example capture.

Here are the instructions to build it. First, as root user (or prepend sudo to these commands):

apt-get install libbluetooth-dev

Then, as normal user (e.g. pi or your username):

git clone
cd grid-eye
npm install noble
npm install sense-hat-led
npm install rotate-matrix
npm install ioctl
npm install
npm install imagejs

Change the index.js file at grid-eye/node_modules/sense-hat-led using the index.js_mine file (which has been through the babel transpiler) using this command:

cp index.js_mine node_modules/sense-hat-led/index.js

The grid-eye/index.js file will need a modification, search for the line with the text progpath and set it to point to the grid-eye folder. The slash at the end is important. For example for me it says:

var progpath='/home/shabaz/grid-eye/';

That’s it! To run it, as root user (or prepend with sudo) type:

node index.js

Use a browser to navigate to http://raspberry-ip-adress:8081/index.html

If you have any questions about this tutorial you can ask me via Email: or use my contact form.