DARPA is working on a new lightweight and compact night-vision goggle (NVG) technology for pilots and ground forces operating in low light conditions.
The defense agency’s goal is to create a night-vision eyewear that offers not only a wider field of view (FOV), but is also lightweight and compact as regular glasses. Moreover, it has been designed to work across multiple infrared (IR) spectrum bands.
Aimed at providing pilots and ground forces with night vision and thermal vision in low light conditions – including fog, dust and other obscurants, the new technology will replace existing night-vision technology (that involves binocular-like optics mounted on a helmet) with a single flat lens in a pair of regular eyeglasses.
“Our warfighters experience significant neck strain from current NVGs caused by the weight of the optics extending 4in-5in in front of their helmets,” notes DARPA program manager Rohith Chandrasekar.
“If you’ve never worn NVGs for hours at a time imagine wearing a baseball cap all day with a two-pound weight attached to the front of the bill; that gives you a small sense of the stress experienced.”
The ENVision program is also exploring the possibility of night vision using direct photon up-conversion from infrared to visible photons using thin materials.
Image and content: DARPA/Airforce Technology