Night Vision Is Finally Awesome Again (Yes, Even Though These Goggles Look Super Dorky)

Night vision is one of those technologies we instinctively think is all high tech, but after 30-plus years, it's a bit rough around the edges. SA Photonics' new Hi-Res Night Vision System brings it back up to speed.

The new system addresses two of the most common requests for the technology from U.S. Air Force pilots: a wider field of vision and higher resolution images. The horizontal field of vision has been increased to 55 degrees, which expands to 82.5 degrees because it's combined with a partial binocular overlap. That figure more than doubles the field of vision for other night vision systems.

The HRNVS is a fully digital night vision solution, which allows it to process its image enhancement digitally, like your fancy DSLR with its uber-ISO settings. Night vision traditionally enhances images by capturing small traces of light, including the lower portion of the infrared light spectrum, but the HRNVS more advanced methods like "[enhancing] night vision imagery by contrast/edge enhancement, speckle reduction, symbology overlay and video recording, none of which are possible with existing night vision systems."

In addition to optimizing the field of vision, the HRNVS does a good job of getting out of its own way with improved Peripheral Obscuration, which basically means its parts don't block your vision. It also makes the HUD imagery easier to view, records night vision imagery and supplies digital overlays for any aircraft.

Unfortunately, it also happens to look like cybertronic gear from 1980s infomercials. [SA Photonics via BusinessWire]