I'm using an MLX90640 Thermal Camera and I got it to work after some time through a Raspberry Pi.

What I am trying to do however is take in a picture every minute (or every few minutes) from what it sees. It doesn't necessarily have to show the video in tandem, but I want to save the images in a folder to be able to code with them.

My ultimate goal is to show a fire from the thermal image reduce in size until its ultimately out though Python. Is there any advice?

Here is the code I'm referencing and what is showing a live thermal signature:

import time,board,busio
import numpy as np
import adafruit_mlx90640
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

print("Initializing MLX90640")
i2c = busio.I2C(board.SCL, board.SDA, frequency=800000) # setup I2C
mlx = adafruit_mlx90640.MLX90640(i2c) # begin MLX90640 with I2C comm
mlx.refresh_rate = adafruit_mlx90640.RefreshRate.REFRESH_2_HZ # set refresh rate
mlx_shape = (24,32)

# setup the figure for plotting
plt.ion() # enables interactive plotting
fig,ax = plt.subplots(figsize=(12,7))
therm1 = ax.imshow(np.zeros(mlx_shape),vmin=0,vmax=60) #start plot with zeros
cbar = fig.colorbar(therm1) # setup colorbar for temps
cbar.set_label('Temperature [$^{\circ}$C]',fontsize=14) # colorbar label

frame = np.zeros((24*32,)) # setup array for storing all 768 temperatures
t_array = []
print("Starting loop")
while True:
    t1 = time.monotonic()
        mlx.getFrame(frame) # read MLX temperatures into frame var
        data_array = (np.reshape(frame,mlx_shape)) # reshape to 24x32
        therm1.set_data(np.fliplr(data_array)) # flip left to right
        therm1.set_clim(vmin=np.min(data_array),vmax=np.max(data_array)) # set bounds
        cbar.update_normal(therm1) # update colorbar range
        plt.title(f"Max Temp: {np.max(data_array):.1f}C")
        plt.pause(0.001) # required
        print('Sample Rate: {0:2.1f}fps'.format(len(t_array)/np.sum(t_array)))
    except ValueError:
        continue # if error, just read again
  • 1
    what exactly is the problem?
    – jsotola
    Oct 10, 2022 at 2:22
  • With the code, I am able to showcase a live video showcasing the heat from the camera. I'm trying to figure out how to simply take in a picture every minute or so instead and store it into a file to be able to process each picture in Python. Sorta like snapshots. I didn't know if there was any code I could reference for this camera specifically on a Raspberry Pi.
    – ceilowens
    Oct 10, 2022 at 2:47
  • Usually in Python when I was using OpenCV, I could simply choose to use a webcam or an external camera, but I'm not sure about the process with my thermal one.
    – ceilowens
    Oct 10, 2022 at 2:50
  • And also, I want to be able to take in the matrix of thermal values along with the image.
    – ceilowens
    Oct 10, 2022 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


You have all you need in your code to store the images now and then. The image data is stored in data_array and updated every loop cycle. It seem to be a 2D numpy array, there are number of ways to store them. The easiest is saving into numpy binary like np.save('file_path/file_name.npy', data_array).

Something to keep in mind, thermal images unlike regular RGB images contain one value per pixel (not 3 like in RGB), meaning that they are "monochrome". Generally you can use matplotlib, as you are already using it, to display the images in pseudo-colors and to save figures like fig.savefig('figure_name.png', dpi=150).

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