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Near-Infrared Camera

19 Mar 23:50 92,900 views | Last edited by mathew about 1 month ago

Mobius white balance

by cfastie | about 1 hour ago | 0 | 47 views | 1

Above: Wratten 25A Infragram of Hedwigia ciliata taken with a modified Mobius ActionCam and Filte...

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infrared led frosted-globe white-balance

NIR and white balance

by cfastie | 1 day ago | 1 | 135 views | 0

Above: An LED which emits only near infrared light around 850 nm photographed under normal room l...

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infrared led frosted-globe white-balance

Mobius IR conversion

by cfastie | 1 day ago | 2 | 157 views | 2

Above: The Mobius ActionCam opens with two screws. One more set screw and you can expose the IR f...

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infrared mobius-actioncam infragram near-infrared-camera

Open-Lux REV-N: Full Circle

by donblair | 3 days ago | 3 | 271 views | 1

(This is a quick note to post materials I've gathered after updating the Open-Lux design -- will ...

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thermal-photography thermal-flashlight thermal-fishing calibration

Mobius Filter-O-Matic

by cfastie | 6 days ago | 2 | 255 views | 0

To figure out how to get the best plant health images with a Mobius ActionCam, I will remove the ...

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infrared 3D-printing mobius-actioncam infragram

Mobius and NIR

by cfastie | 7 days ago | 1 | 266 views | 1

Above: The Mobius ActionCam (top), one of the earlier "spy" cams (lower), and LEDs for testing. ...

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infrared led frosted-globe histogram

Infragram featured in April's issue of Wired

by warren | 8 days ago | 1 | 315 views | 3

Just got this at the newsstand -- pretty neat, if brief! Woohoo!

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infragram wired media

Mobius Action Cam Infragram tests

by warren | 14 days ago | 5 | 502 views | 0

What I want to do Based on an ongoing discussion about whether the Mobius Action Cam (a ~70 gram...

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response:9302 response:9325 response:9296 response:9293

More research on "near-infrared-camera" »

Title Last edited Edits Pageviews Likes
Infragram convertible cameras 1 day ago by cfastie 44 15,715 1
Infragram Sandbox 15 days ago by mathew 5 2,739 0
Infragram 23 days ago by warren 75 15,694 4
NDVI from the PLOTS near infrared camera 2 months ago by cfastie 34 10,929 0
Camera Selection 2 months ago by hagitkeysar 18 9,887 0
Photo Monitoring Plugin 2 months ago by cfastie 8 4,222 1
Dual Camera Kit Guide 3 months ago by cfastie 24 8,539 0
Dual Camera Kit Software 3 months ago by cfastie 24 5,551 0
Infragram Media 7 months ago by warren 50 9,847 1
Infragram Webapp Dev 5 months ago by warren 34 4,157 1
Infrablue white balance 7 months ago by cfastie 6 2,539 1
LEAFFEST 8 months ago by cfastie 58 5,473 2
WATERCHESTNUTS 8 months ago by warren 43 6,270 2
GoPro about 1 month ago by gonzoearth 10 3,690 2
Near Infrared Camera history 10 months ago by warren 3 2,374 0
Infragram FAQ 8 months ago by cfastie 30 5,633 1
ndvi-gradients 8 months ago by cfastie 4 1,787 1
iFarm 2013 11 months ago by cfastie 23 3,708 1
Near infrared imaging 11 months ago by liz 11 2,395 1
NDVI and NRG 11 months ago by liz 17 12,762 0
LeafKam 12 months ago by cfastie 13 1,840 1
IRCam about 1 year ago by warren 17 3,543 0
T-bracket Dual Camera Rig over 1 year ago by mathew 11 3,860 0
Canon A495 Tips over 1 year ago by cfastie 14 3,643 0
MapKnitter over 1 year ago by gonzoearth 24 15,806 0
GMF 2 infrared camera feature almost 2 years ago by mathew 13 3,888 0
Dual camera kit electronics about 1 month ago by mathew 22 3,539 1
Interpreting infrared images almost 2 years ago by warren 2 1,531 0
NIR proof of concept: Trout Lily almost 2 years ago by cfastie 1 2,323 0
Infrared Vegetation Analysis Activity about 3 years ago by warren 5 5,505 0

The Infragram Kickstarter video, a great introduction to the project.


Vineyards, large farms, and NASA all use near-infrared photography for assessing plant health, usually by mounting expensive sensors on airplanes and satellites. At Public Lab, we've developed a Do-It-Yourself way to take these kinds of photos, enabling us to monitor our environment through quantifiable data.

Our technique uses a modified digital camera to capture near-infrared and blue light in the same image, but in different color channels. We then post-process the image to attempt to infer how much it is photosynthesizing. This allows us to better understand and quantify how much of the available light plants are metabolizing into sugar via photosynthesis.

You can do this yourself (as with all Public Lab tools) but there is also an Infragram DIY Filter Pack available in the Public Lab Store.

We recently ran a Kickstarter for a version of this camera we call the Infragram. Read more about it here » Here's the video from the Kickstarter, which offers a nice visual explanation of the technique:

What is it good for?

Multispectral or infrared/visible photography has seen a variety of applications in the decades since it was developed. We have focused on the following uses:

  • Take pictures to examine plant health in backyard gardens, farms, parks, and nearby wetlands
  • Monitor your household plants
  • Teach students about plant growth and photosynthesis
  • Create exciting science fair projects
  • Generate verifiable, open environmental data
  • Check progress of environmental restoration projects
  • Document unhealthy areas of your local ecology (for instance, algal blooms)

Notable uses include this photograph of an unidentified plume of material in the Gowanus Canal (and writeup by TechPresident) and a variety of projects at a small farm in New Hampshire at the annual iFarm event. The Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium has also collaborated with Public Lab contributors to measure wetlands loss following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

Here's an example of what one of our "Infragrxam" cameras sees (left) and the post-processing analysis which shows photosynthetic activity, or plant health (right). This picture was taken from a commercial airplane flight:


How does it work?

Camera modification: We've worked on several different techniques, from dual camera systems to the current, single-camera technique. This involves removing the infrared-blocking filter from almost any digital camera, and adding a specific blue filter.


This filters out the red light, and measures infrared light in its place using a piece of carefully chosen "NGB" or "infrablue" filter. Read more about the development of this technique here. You can also learn more about how digital camera image sensors detect colors at this great tutorial by Bigshot.

Post-processing: Once you take a multispectral photograph with a modified camera, you must post-process it, compositing the infrared and visible data to generate a new image which (if it works) displays healthy, photosynthetically active areas as bright regions. An in-depth article on the technique by Chris Fastie (albeit using red instead of blue for visible light) can be found here.

History of the project: While we used to use a two-camera system, research by Chris Fastie and other Public Lab contributors have led to the use of a single camera which can image in both infrared and visible light simultaneously. The Infrablue filter is just a piece of carefully chosen theater gel which was examined using a DIY spectrometer. You can use this filter to turn most webcams or cheap point-and-shoots into an infrared/visible camera.

Background: satellite infrared imaging

The study of Earth's environment from space got its start in 1972 when the first Landsat satellite was launched. The multispectral scanner it carried, like the scanners on all subsequent Landsat satellites, recorded images with both visible and near infrared light. Remote sensing scientists quickly learned that by combining visible and infrared data, they could reveal critical information about the health of vegetation. For example, the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) highlights the difference between the red and infrared wavelengths that are reflected from vegetation. Because red light is used by plants for photosynthesis but infrared light is not, NDVI allows scientists to estimate the amount of healthy foliage in every satellite image. Thousands of scientists, including landscape ecologists, global change biologists, and habitat specialists have relied on these valuable satellite-based NDVI images for decades.

There are public sources of infrared photography for the US available through the Department of Agriculture -- NAIP and Vegscape -- but this imagery is not collected when, as often, or at useable scale for individuals who are managing small plots.


Caption: Normal color photo (top) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) image. NDVI image was derived from two color channels in a single photo taken with a camera modified with a special infrared filter. Note that tree trunks, brown grass, and rocks have very low NDVI values because they are not photosynthetic. Healthy plants typically have NDVI values between 0.1 and 0.9. Images by Chris Fastie. Visit the gallery of high-res images by Chris Fastie

How to process your images:

We're working on an easy process to generate composite, infrared + visible images that will reveal new details of plant health and photosynthesis. There are several approaches:

Note: Older versions of this page have been kept at the following wiki page:

Tags: list:plots-infrared near-infrared-camera infragram tabbed:notes tabbed:wikis tool