Sick of living in a poorly-heated apartment? You can now expose draughty trouble spots by building your own thermal flashlight and painting colourful heat maps on your walls.
The do-it-yourself technology developed by the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, a non-profit group based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, lets homeowners and tenants document the temperature around their home to reveal inadequate insulation.
Last month, during a hacking session at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, students with little electronics experience gathered to make their own flashlights from a multicoloured LED, a thermal sensor, a circuit board and wire.
A programmed mini-processor was used to control how the unit responds to heat. One student exploited the hackable nature of the tool to develop a wand design as an alternative to the standard exterior made from a VHS tape case.
By the end of the afternoon the flashlights were ready for testing. The students waved frozen water bottles in front of the device while capturing a time-lapse of the light painting with the online webcam program Glowdoodle.
To find out more about the device and potential applications for environmental monitoring, read our full news story: "Thermal flashlight 'paints' cold rooms with colour".