I've been experimenting a lot lately with IR LEDs and found that I can get a lot of intensity out of them. This could be used for creating some home brew night vision goggle solutions.
They do sell commercial IR illuminators for night vision, so this isn't an entirely new idea. They come for a variety of prices. Search for "IR illuminators", here are some examples.
But the LED diodes are not expensive.
They sell ones with very wide and very narrow illumination patterns. Here are some I bought recently from Digikey. 10 for $3-$5.
|1||10||67-1001-ND||DIODE IR EMITTER 5MM IR CLR LENS||0||0.48500||$4.85|
|2||10||475-2871-ND||EMITTER IR 850NM 5MM RADIAL||0||0.48400||$4.84|
|3||10||475-1458-ND||EMITTER IR GAAS 950NM 5MM RADIAL||0||0.31300||$3.1|
Now you could spend 200+ on one of these snazzy things....
Or you could build an illuminator by modifying an LED flashlight, I'm sure you already have a dozen around the house. This one has a nice housing, a lens, and supports a cluster of LEDs.
Although the old clamshell phones would work too. Maybe better because the display is smaller. I've got some of these too so I'll see what works best.
This project is underway... so the post will build as I complete it.