For Sam Fisher fans or master stalkers: scientists have developed a thin film that converts infrared light into its visible counterpart. The promise? Cell phones, eyeglasses, and even windshields with cheap, low-power, and lightweight night vision.
The development, funded by DARPA, is the brainchild of a team based in the University of Florida. This thin-film night vision is based on technology already found on flat screen TVs. The system replaces the glass and vacuum found in current-generation night vision goggles, using "energy efficient organic LEDs" instead.
This substitution is what made the development team's proof of concept, a device weighing less than a quarter-pound powered by up to five volts of electricity. The implemented version would weigh less than a deck of cards and be several microns thick, according to team lead Franky So.
Timeline for perfecting the device is about 18 months. The team is also developing thin film that can detect heat, citing car windshields that detect astray pedestrians as a sample beneficial use. While portable night vision definitely has industrial or military applications, let's hope a watered-down version hits the commercial market soon.