A REVIEW OF NIGHT VISION GOGGLES
As the name implies, night vision goggles are devices used to enhance sight at night. Humans are created to work, build and indulge in several activities during the day, our eyes are sharper, much more sensitive and effective during the day than in the dark. In order for the sense of vision to provide information to the brain, it needs a lot of light thus, the inability to see properly in the dark can become somewhat of a disadvantage as we come across activities to be done at night time. This leads to several questions such as: what can be done about utilizing our eyes at night? How can we boost our vision at night time? How do we get our eyes to function in the dark without squinting or straining it? The answer lies in the ever evolving world of technology!
Since the introduction of night vision goggles in World War 2, this optoelectronic device has gradually become a force to reckon with in some major sectors that include aviation, wild life, military and film making. The ability of this device to produce images in high levels of light approaching darkness has aided a lot of breakthroughs in the sectors mentioned above. In the aviation sector, flying at night has become a totally cool experience for pilots as, the googles help in the navigation of routes. In the documentation of wild life at game reserves, the use of night vision goggles has led to significant research on how to save endangered species and has provided more knowledge on how animals thrive at night. The military isn’t left out, in some countries, night vision googles are used by authorized military personnel in combat, to protect territorial waters and help prevent sudden attacks. Hollywood and the rest of the film making world is renowned for their use of top notch technology in the production of movies and night vision google is no exception to the rule.
It is important to note that night vision goggles are not restricted to only specified sectors, although at its emergence, the practitioners in such specified sectors used it more than individuals but as interest in technology broaden, individuals are becoming more aware of the importance of this device. However before you make a purchase, be sure to confirm that it is legal for you to possess one in your country, this is because in some countries like the Netherlands, night vision goggles can be used only with a special permit in some areas. In Belgium and Germany, the device is considered illegal if it is mounted on a firearm and in some states in the USA, only law-enforcement agents and military officers can use such devices. Let’s talk about the unique features of this device, types, pros and cons and how to maintain it (care).
TYPES OF NIGHT VISION GOGGLES
There are two major types of night vision goggles: The image intensifier tube device also known as the enhancement device and the Infrared thermal device. So what’s the difference between both devices? Well, the image intensifier uses available light, it intensifies its ability, by enhancing whatever little light that may be within your scope thus increasing visuals. Most times, this type of night vision goggle is specifically referred to as “night vision” because of the way it derives light from the dark to aid sight at night. This device is mostly used by pilots who fly at night, police officers use it to safe guard lives and properties, men of the military also utilize this device. The 50MM Bushnell Equinox Z is a great night vision monocular that weighs 27 ounces and runs on four AA batteries.
The Infrared thermal device uses heat as its major source of deriving light. The heat that emits from an object becomes the guiding factor in deriving light. This device has a sensor called microbalometer which considers the variant of temperature between a particular object and its environment in order to create a physical impression of that object. So instead of searching for light to aid vision like the image intensifier, it searches for heat in living things and objects. The Thermal device is most commonly used by firemen and at airports. A good example is the EOTech MTM Mini-Thermal Monocular which is a high-end handheld thermal imaging device. So what are the features of both types of night vision goggles?
FEATURES OF NIGHT VISION GOGGLES
Both devices are unique with peculiar features that serve a variety of purpose. The image intensifier device shows off objects in a green light, wondering why this is: It’s because our eyes are way more sensitive to green light thus the phosphorous on the screen of the device projects images in green to aid fast adaptability to objects and scenes. Thermal devices on the other hand produce images in different colours depending on their temperature and heat levels.
The very first set of night vision goggles were quite large but as technology improves, the size reduces with more quality and higher picture resolution. So a great feature of both types of night vision goggles is that it can come in handy at any time, can be used on one hand and small enough to fit in anywhere. Night vision goggles are also very easy to maintain: unlike other complicated devices that require a lot of maintenance, these devices make maintenance fun because of their very sleek designs.
You already know how important the night vision goggles are, not just to individuals but to specialized sectors, this review also analyses the amazing features of the device whilst taking into consideration the method of maintenance. However, every product has its pros, cons and major aspects to look out for. A review on night vision goggles will not be complete without stating the pros and cons of the product. Let us begin with the Pros, shall we?
The very first advantage of night vision goggles lies in the fact that this device can be very instrumental in safeguarding lives and properties. Thermal device is a good example because it’s mostly used by firemen to detect the number of individuals trapped in a fire, their location and the intensity of the fire. The infrared radiation from the device serves as a guiding light to firefighters, helping them see through a haze of smoke thus aiding the safety of lives. In recent times, most of the infrared thermal devices used by firefighters are handheld and not attached to the helmet, this feature makes it quite easy for firemen to utilize the device when combating a fire.
Have you ever been in a situation at night where you needed urgent help? A situation so dire, you just had to explore whatever option available to get out: it’s called an emergency! What happens when it’s a medical emergency? Night vision goggles are instrumental in flying an aircraft safely at night, so medical helicopters with advanced technologies use night vision goggles in flying to places where urgent medical attention is needed. Night vision goggles can also be used by the military to conduct a search and rescue mission in the eventuality of a crash.
Night vision goggles guarantee safety. Pilots are usually stressed out whilst flying at night, this poses a threat to both pilot and passengers but when night vision goggles are used, the pilot’s work load is reduced, stress reduces and safety is assured. Night vision goggles are invaluable to men of the military, as the device is used for most covert operations carried out at night time. In addition to the assurance of safety it offers, our super device also helps in the prevention of accidents: there have been cases of planes colliding in the air thus resulting in accidents, also cases of stress induced accidents from pilots who have to strain their eyes to see while flying at night. All of these are of no consequence when night vision goggles are used. So what’s not to love about night vision goggles?
The type of night vision goggles used by firemen is different from the ones used by pilots. The device for firemen can be handheld in the course of an operation but this isn’t the case for pilots as due to the fact that they navigate the plane using both hands, the heavy device has to be placed on the pilot’s helmet thus adding more weight which leads to tiredness, neck pain and stress related sicknesses. This is a major disadvantage because, comfort is key when flying, if the pilot isn’t comfortable, then the flight is going to be a long, stressful and unsafe one.
Night vision goggles are quite expensive. As important as this device is, it doesn’t come cheap and this makes it quite inaccessible to individuals who might want to enjoy the enormous benefits that come with it. Most NVG are owned by government parastatals, military commands and specialize sectors so it’s a device to be purchased after careful consideration of one’s budget. Due to how expensive it is, the average man on the street requires a higher purchasing power to acquire it.
One of the major cons of this device is its susceptibility to abuse by individuals who might want to invade the privacy of others. In countries where there are no laws biding the acquisition of night vision goggles, it can get in the wrong hands and become a tool for perpetuating evil. Strangers can lurk in the dark, law enforcement agents who have access to this device can encroach on the privacy of the citizenry as well.
Furthermore, research has shown that the lighting in the cockpit of an aircraft can interfere with the operations of night vision goggles. The cockpit in every aircraft comes with its own lighting designed for the effectiveness of the flight however, when pilots use this device, there is bound to be contrast with the light that emits from the goggles and the one in the cockpit. Therefore, aircrafts must modify their lighting to suit the use of a night vision goggle.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR NVG (NIGHT VISION GOGGLES)
Don’t drop your device hard! This is very important. The night vision goggle is an extremely delicate device so it is important that you handle it with care at all times. As you do that, ensure that it isn’t stored in a place for a long period time with the batteries still in its compartment, by doing this, you will be protecting the internal parts of the device, avoid deterioration of the battery thus leading to longer battery life span. After removing the battery (if the device won’t be used for a while) store your equipment in a cool and dry area where the temperature isn’t so high. Also, the optics of your device should be covered in transparent filters: this helps protect them from dirt and scratches. We have come to address this device with its given name which informs even a first time buyer that the device is meant to be used at night time only, thus exposure to sunlight will have dire effects on your device, keep devices safely tucked away from bright lights.
They say eating a lot of carrots help improve your vision at night, if this were true night vision goggles will probably be made out of carrots right? Or there will be no NVG in the first place. Since carrots do not do the trick, nor do they help firemen, pilots and military men get the job done, it is safe to say that Night Vision Goggles have brought a lot of stability and help to experiencing clearer visuals at night. This review has taken a spin at the very important aspects of night vision goggles: from the types, to its amazing features, its pros and cons, care and maintenance, size etc. Despite the limitations of this terrific device, after reading this review, one can easily conclude that it is a must-have.