Say you’re watching a movie set in the future, and it’s night time. The main character needs to find his enemy from his hidden location, or maybe he needs to sneak around an area undetected, or maybe he’s trying to find Slimer. He or she pulls out a bulky, awkwardly designed pair of night-vision goggles to aid in the task. Feel free to stand up and scream “Bullshit!” at the TV or theater screen before storming out in a huff. It’s okay to ruin it for others since the filmmakers ruined your experience by not being able to foresee a time when night-vision goggles gave way to night-vision regular spectacles.
The Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) recently granted a team of researchers a $6.5 million grant to begin creating their revamped take on night vision. The team is led by Professor Gabby Sarusi of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Beersheba, Israel, who has spent nearly two decades in the field of optics and thermal imaging, among other things. He says wearing the new technology “will be like seeing at night will full moonlight.”
Sarusi and his team created a thin film layer based on nanophotonics that is able to capture invisible rays of light and turn it into visible light. “We are taking advantage of night glow as our illuminator to visualize using short wave infrared light spectrum. This is unlike night vision goggles that only amplify visible light and are therefore vulnerable to ‘dazzling,'” Sarusi explains. The film, which can be attached to any pair of glasses, is only a couple of microns thick, weighs just under two ounces, and will run on a small 20-volt battery. I’d be amused if all of the outdated goggles would be recycled as housing compartments for the batteries.
Sarusi’s team wasn’t the only one awarded grant money, but they have the most expectations embedded in their progress. Though the source story says the applied use was being geared towards “security,” I’ll dedicate my life to Mayan philosophy if every branch of the military complex doesn’t swallow this up years ahead of public availability. Not sure why I think that though, since Israel and war are perfect strangers.