Night vision was first used in the military in the 1930s on German tanks. These devices provided much better vision than the naked eye but the original version was expensive and heavy.

Today’s night vision devices are much more versatile and lighter weight. There are three types of night vision that the military uses:

  • Image Intensification – This works by magnifying the natural light available from moonlight, street lights, car headlights etc….
  • Active illumination – This uses light that is not detectable by the human eye.
  • Thermal Imaging – This method shows images based on the heat that is given off human body, for example.  This might be the more familiar form of night vision to most individuals.

Most soldiers in the military are equipped with night vison googles. They look a bit like binoculars and use image intensification to scan the darkness for enemies. There is also a night vision device that more resembles a telescope. It can be mounted on a tank or weapon and also uses image intensification.Military Night Vision

Night vision helps military personnel defend an area or scan for threats in the form of tanks or people who may wish to do them harm. Generally, when using these devices, things appear with a greenish tint because of the way the light reflects off of the landscape.

Thermal imaging is used by the military on a larger scale. Thermal imaging provides the ability to “see” people within a building, for example, and can also be used during daylight hours.

Night Vision Civilian Use

Night vision has been more widely used in the civilian market in the auto industry. Automotive night vision systems help improve a driver’s perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather. Typically, they use infrared or thermal imaging sometimes combined with active illumination techniques, to collect information that is displayed back to the driver.

Night vision has also been used in aircraft and helicopters, low light hunting, night shooting competitions and more.

Night vision systems have improved military performance and enhanced the ability for civilians to “see” in the dark what they could not before. Manufacturers can find a full line of night vision lenses from Universe Optics. We carry all formats and many specialty lenses.

Please call us to discuss your specific application as we do not list on our website all the lenses, filters, mounts and accessories we carry.