Wondering if that electrical wall outlet is properly insulated? Want to see if there’s a person standing in that dark alley? Well, perhaps what you need is a thermal imaging system for your smartphone. Soon, you may be able to buy one, in the form of the IR-Blue.

Illinois-based hardware developer Andy Rawson created the predecessor of the device for himself, when he wanted to check for heat leaks in his 100 year-old house. He has since refined it into an unobtrusive gadget that’s slightly thicker but shorter than an iPhone.

The IR-Blue incorporates a 64-zone infrared temperature sensor, calibrated for temperatures ranging from -20 to 300ºC (-4 to 572ºF). Plans call for one version to connect with the iPhone 4S and 5, the new iPads, and the 5th-gen iPod touch via Bluetooth 4.0. The other version, using Bluetooth 2.1, will connect with devices running Android 2.3 and higher.

To operate it, users simply activate the free paired app, then point their phone/IR-Blue at the area that they wish to examine. An overlay on the phone’s display uses gradated colors to show which objects are warmest, and which are coolest. Additionally, when an object is centered on screen, the display provides a numerical value of that object’s temperature.

An IR-Blue image of a warm car engine

Should users wish, they can grab snapshots of the display for later reference.

The IR-Blue requires four AAA batteries, and is expected to retail for US$195. A pledge of $175 will get you one, when and if they go into production – given that the funding goal has already been exceeded, that looks likely.

More information is available in Andy’s pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter