Exciting Technology Makes the Invisible Visible

With this night tech gear, seeing in the dark just got easier.

Looking through the lenses of glasses and seeing a bright cityscape at night.

(NATNN / Shutterstock.com)

Imagine being able to see perfectly in the dark. This vision has become a reality thanks to a newly developed technology. Now, by simply wearing a pair of glasses, you can drive safely at night, walk home in pitch dark, or even explore dark forests and caves without holding a flashlight!

This exciting innovation came to light at the Australia National University, according to a press release from this university in Canberra. The technology is composed of a thin film that will be placed on the lenses of regular glasses. It is inexpensive to make, easy to mass produce, and is lightweight.

The thin film is made of nanometer-scale crystals. It is so minute, it is actually 100 times thinner than a strand of hair. Yet, despite its tiny size, its performance is impressive; this special film allows you to see in the dark.

The international team has made the invisible visible, and will be available to all. “Our technology is able to transform infrared light, normally invisible to the human eye, and turn this into images people can clearly see - even at distance,” lead researcher Dr. Rocio Camacho Morales said in the press release.

Compared to animals, humans have very poor night vision, that is, until now. Over the years night vision devices have been developed to help the medical, industrial, and scientific worlds.

Scientists are able to study nocturnal animals by using infrared cameras, while companies use infrared imaging for food quality control, according to the study published in Advanced Photonics.

Conventional infrared imaging devices work by detecting the heat of an object. The infrared detectors use a cryogenic cooler and are also sensitive to thermal noise. Such disadvantages led the team into exploring an improved device.

Their new device is able to function at room temperature. And as the new technology is not bulky like its predecessors, it has many future applications. Researchers foresee using this night vision for autonomous vehicle navigation and optical tomography for medical imaging.

Once this new night vision is available to all, it could save lives. Drivers will be able to navigate better at night, especially when driving on unlit roads. Police can use them when searching at night, and hikers who lose their way can feel more confident walking in the dark.

The innovators are excited to move from the lab towards making practical applications available for all. “While this is the first proof-of-concept experiment, we are actively working to further advance the technology,” Mohsen Rahmani, lead developer of the nanoscale crystal films, said in the press release. The many uses are exciting and seeing in the dark opens up a new world for all.

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