The FLIR Scion OTM is an entryway to handheld thermal optics for hunters and outdoorsmen.
There's an advantage to a handheld thermal monocular that some hunters may not even realize. You can be as old school as you want, but it's the 21st Century and we're living in a golden age of tech.
The 2019 SHOT Show was an indicator of that exponentially fast growth in the technology-based sector of the outdoors, as was FLIR and their presence at the show.
There was a lot to see at the FLIR booth, but the Scion OTM, or Outdoor Thermal Monocular, was the most promising as far as we were concerned.
On first inspection, the Scion OTM seems too small and lightweight to do the things its claimed to do. There aren't nearly enough buttons, and the whole device could be slipped in a coat pocket and virtually forgotten about.
Then after spending some time looking through and learning about the handheld optics, the Scion OTM starts to come across as one of the easiest and best ways for outdoorsmen and women (hunters specifically) to see the benefit.
Here's a video showing off the details.
Let's highlight those specs. The Scion OTM projects smooth thermal imaging and can record video and still images. You can add a MicroSD to the card slot, but with 2Gb of internal storage, there should be enough memory to keep a lot of stuff. It has onboard Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for real-time file transfer, and target recognition that can stretch out to see objects of interest 500m away. There's also a GPS function that lets you mark locations.
The battery life, which is always a concern for high-tech gear that's meant to be used in the great outdoors, is a respectable 4.5 hours. You can choose between 320 or 640 resolution, and the high refresh rate will make a wildlife encounter that much more clear and precise.
You may have heard the video address FLIR's Boson core mentioned in the video. That's FLIR's longwave infrared (LWIR) thermal camera core, that's set the standard for size, weight, power, and performance. It boasts advanced image processing, video analytics, peripheral sensor drivers, and industry-standard communication interfaces.
That all adds up to a price of $2,495.
Essentially, this is the ultimate game tracking tool. Thick timber or darkened skies won't be an issue if you're looking for turkey roosts or a downed deer. You could check a trail or pathway to a treestand in the early morning to make sure you don't bump something. It could even be used to check for hunters or campers on public land, and guide you to more secluded areas.
Aside from the FLIR Scion OTM is the Scion PTM, or Professional Thermal Monocular, meant for law enforcement and public safety applications.
FLIR Systems, Inc. has risen to the top tier of outdoor optics, and specifically the thermal imaging space. They've been making enough high performance thermal cameras and detection systems that it's about time more hunters in the United States were familiar with the name.
On top of that, they've detailed the great things people are doing with their thermal products in the "World's Sixth Sense" feature on FLIR.com. Reading a bit about how people around the world save lives, protect the environment, and enhance efficiency can really give you some perspective.
If that same technology is available in an outdoor-driven application, you'd be left behind if you don't see for yourself.