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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Night Vision Goggles, built from the junk bin

This project is an attempt to build night vision goggles for next to nothing.  A little nuts, but I'm here to have fun!

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.

11067-1001-NDDIODE IR EMITTER 5MM IR CLR LENS00.48500$4.85
210475-2871-NDEMITTER IR 850NM 5MM RADIAL00.48400$4.84
310475-1458-NDEMITTER IR GAAS 950NM 5MM RADIAL00.31300$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.   

And use a camera and display from your pile of used cell phones (I hope everyone has such a pile).  An older one with a smaller display would be best.
Now the crazy part is mounting  the cell phone in a headset and sealing up the light output to your eye.  A pair of drugstore magnifying glasses will allow you to put the display close to your eye.  I happen to have one of these phones that is out of service when I got a smartphone.  I has a 3Mpixel camera and a built in display on the other side.  95% of the vision system i need.


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.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good post but then readers would not be that convinced because of some blog contents that you included here. Yes, people can improvise night vision goggles but I think you should find something that would not need a pile from cellular phones or think of other ways on how they can improvise using other useful materials. Thanks anyway for this good and informative post.