We've seen night vision goggles before. And they usually look like regular military gear -- hi-tech and serious. This new Hi-Res Night Vision System is all that, too, but it's also dorky as hell. And that's a good thing.
Created by SA Photonics, you'd sooner laugh at the sight of a dude wearing this than be scared. I mean, it's like the perfect head gear for a Comic Con event. Of course, when the headwear is paired with a guy wearing military fatigue and a real automatic in his hands, the sentiment can change really fast. Keep your eyes locked on the neck up, though, and you'll be fine.
The Hi-Res Night Vision System is a fully digital night vision system, which should explain the bulky helmet hiding all the electronics. It doesn't use any type of optical glasses; instead, your vicinity is scoped using cameras, with images fed back your way via a pair of swiveling displays (one for each eye). Since the images are processed digitally, they can overlay what you end up seeing with HUD imagery -- a definite advantage when you're in the field.
Unlike traditional night vision solutions, which capture small traces of light for enhancing images, the new gear incorporates more advanced methods like contrast/edge enhancement, speckle reduction, symbology overlay and video recording. It also expands the wearer's horizontal field of vision to 85 degrees using a partial binocular overlap.
More than anything else, of course, we just love how dorky the Hi-Res Night Vision System looks. It will be presented at the 2011 SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing Symposium in Orlando next week.