With the many commercial and industrial and notwithstanding scientific applications of thermal imaging systems, the trend is and will be "more for less". Increased performance will be characterized by greater thermal and spacial resolution, less spectral sensitivity; quantitative outputs in standardized video format, image storage, digital control, image processing, analysis and interfacing. Ergonomically, systems will demonstrate increased portability, ease of operation, and internal means of detector cooling.
Science and art merge in the optical systems, and hence, the developments are evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary so the areas of keenest interest are detection and signal processing systems.
All of these emerging developments will interestingly result in thermal imaging systems which cost no more than existing systems and, it is suspected by the author, that some will bare a smaller price tag.