Re: Cheap Thermal Camera?/Best Way to Detect Location of Human/Animal?
Unfortunately, no. Most (all?) PIR sensors cannot be used like that. A quick digikey search gave ~30 results, all of which had the detection system embedded within the sensor so that the user has no direct access to any of the 2 to 4 sensing elements. (I knew there was a reason the whole PIR discussion seemed way too familiar - this entire thread should be enlightening).
Hacking a cheapo IR thermometer onto a two axis turret to scan for temperatures like a laser rangefinder was one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind upon reading this thread, but the slow update rate would mean very coarse sensing at very long scanning intervals (easily enough to miss potential targets).
I seem to remember someone somewhere attempting to build an IR camera using discrete IR photodiodes or thermopiles set up in an array, but that may just be confusion on my part (I know that someone has made very basic X-ray sensors by coating photodiodes with a scintillating material).
Now I am very tempted to test out some optical flow algorithms on the new bot we got in the lab (combining them with zbar for reading QR Code tags on various objects around the lab may make the bot a bit more interactive). The basic fixed color blob tracking examples it comes with are not very interesting.
Please pardon the pedantry... and the profanity... and the convoluted speech pattern...
"You have failed me, Brain!"