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Night Vision For All

Think of the children ....
  (+11, -3)(+11, -3)
(+11, -3)
  [vote for,

All over your planet, there are millions of street lights, and for most of the night they light up bugger all. This is rather wasteful.

Indeed some local authorities have elected to shut off some street lighting at times to save money (and energy).

The cost of basic digital night vision equipment is falling rapidly, and if they were manufactured in very high volume, the cost would fall even further.

The proposal is for developed nations with extensive street lighting systems to turn them off and give every citizen a pair of basic binocular colour night vision goggles - or a voucher towards buying a superior set. These would be used by all citizens during the hours of darkness.

Standardised free charging points (possibly based on the USB connector) will be mandatory in all public locations ad buildings.

The advantages of this plan are many.

1. Street lighting system can be dismantled. Energy usage will be reduced. The metal, including the posts and copper cabling can be recovered and recycled. Alternatively the network of power distribution could be used for electric vehicles.

2. The street lighting no longer needs to be maintained. Faulty goggles can be easily swapped.

3. Crime will be reduced as it will no longer be useful to lurk in a dark alley.

4. Cars will no longer require headlights.

5. Away from centres of population, where there is no street lighting, pedestrians and drivers will still be able to see well.

6. Light pollution will be largely eliminated.

7. Global energy use will be diminished (Many headsets can be run all night for the equivalent energy of one streetlamp)

8. Power outages at night will have little or no impact.

9. Drivers will no longer be dazzled when other drivers do not dip their headlights.

10 The goggles can display other information such as GPS location, double as VR goggles, and incorporate telephony functions.

11. The manifest advantages of the system will condition your species into unquestioning acceptance of cybernetic augmentation and prepare you for Assimilation into the Borg Collective. [**NB** CHECK THIS BIT WITH MARKETING BEFORE POSTING]

8th of 7, Jan 02 2010

Digital night vision http://www.made-in-...Goggle-DNV-X1-.html
Basic but functional. [8th of 7, Jan 02 2010]

Night vision driving Night_20vision_20driving
Prior Art acknowledged. [8th of 7, Jan 02 2010]

(?) PWI http://www.eaglecct...ay_product_3083.htm
A random example [8th of 7, Jan 07 2010]

Knight Vision Goggles Knight_20Vision_20Goggles
Prior Art, and shameless elf-promotion ... [8th of 7, Feb 27 2014]


       There's something wrong with #11 but I can't quite put my finger on it... [+]
FlyingToaster, Jan 02 2010

       [21Q], it's hard to propose a partial solution to "Global Warming" without a certa1n amount of Collective action (pun intended). Initially this would affect technically developed nations. It could be rolled out to less developed nations rapidly, sparing them the need to construct some aspect of their power generation and distribution infrastructure.   

       No "Let's All ..." intended, per se ...
8th of 7, Jan 02 2010

       // we don't need interior lighting either? //   

8th of 7, Jan 03 2010

       Day and night will no longer be distinguishable, so all countries can adopt a universal time zone. An underclass of natural vision freaks will grow up, who dare to try removing the devices and are mercilessly persecuted by everyone else.
pocmloc, Jan 03 2010

       Good old Homo Sapiens, you can always rely on them for irrational bigotry and victimisation of the minority.
8th of 7, Jan 03 2010

       and on date night. fashionable goggles, color coordination, um. It might catch on. or not.
dentworth, Jan 03 2010

       Driving with NVG is not real practical under many circumstances, as either field of view, depth of field, or both have to be compromised as part of the light amplification process.
MechE, Jan 03 2010

       //There's something wrong with #11// That's right, it's a syntax error; the left curly bracket is "balanced" by a right square bracket.
pertinax, Jan 04 2010

       haw, knew it.
FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2010

       Fixed ....   

       There's nothing wrong with the actual content, though, is there ?
8th of 7, Jan 04 2010

       bunned it but I think I'm gonna stick with baseball cap-mounted LED's.
FlyingToaster, Jan 04 2010

       //Good old Homo Sapiens//   

       Cptlzn: Homo sapiens. (And italics, where possible.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 04 2010

       You mean Italians are human too ? We never knew that ....
8th of 7, Jan 05 2010

       Oi! [8th], leave our eyes alone!   

       We don't need no steenking occular eye-implants.
Jinbish, Jan 05 2010

       Someone pitched a similiar idea when I was working as an inventor in Kodak, including the bit about spotting people lurking in dark alleys. They were seeking a larger market for such glasses, rather than the current niche one.   

       The problem with this idea is batteries. If your personal night-vision batteries fails then you are very much in the dark, left with vision that hasn't yet shifted to night-vision.   

       For the recharinging points (I just re-read the idea) would probably be abused for other purposes if they weren't pre-vandalised, that is.
Aristotle, Jan 05 2010

       // would probably be abused for other purposes //   

       Maybe, but it's hard to see how a 5V 100mA outlet can be "abused".   

       Yes, battery life is an issue. But many mobile phone users manage to keep their handsets live 24/7/365 without too much grief. It's just getting into the habit of regular recharging.   

       Since every home, shop, hotel, bar and office and vehicle will have recharging facilities, outlets in public areas might be superfluous.   

       Wearers could carry a compact single-use backup powerpack for emergencies.
8th of 7, Jan 05 2010

       Then there is the classic problem of ubiquity.   

       To allow for the street lights to be turned off everyone has to have one, otherwise people would be talking of the dangers of "night-vision" poverty. To allow for recharging you are providing ubiquitous charging facilities, which would have an installation, maintenance and upkeep cost.   

       Provide such a power source and people would find the best "exploits" for such free power. The homeless would love this as it would allow them to buy cheap, second-hand gadgets and keep them charged. Sainthood might ensue ...
Aristotle, Jan 05 2010

       // installation, maintenance and upkeep cost. //   

       ....... which can be offset against the saving on literally millions of street lamps.   

       //Sainthood might ensue ... //   

       For whom, pray tell ?
8th of 7, Jan 05 2010

       For the person who brought (USB) power to the people.
Aristotle, Jan 05 2010

       [+] for the prospect of seeing the night sky as it was prior to the advent of electric light.
MikeD, Jan 05 2010

       So wait, we are replacing regular lighting, by getting everyone to wear grainy IR illuminator/camera/displays on their heads? First, if they actually make ANY HUD digital displays that vaguely come close to decent resolution, then I haven't heard of them. You could save money by skipping the IR camera part and just give people "flashlights". That would allow them to use their "eyes" to "see" the visible spectrum in better resolution then your night vision glasses.   

       Next to experiment with the idea of ditching street lights in favor of head mounted lights, just try this: Mount a good Maglite with Halogen bulb to your head and walk into a dark bar. You will experience that everyone that looks you in the face will be blinded and then angered.   

       If you want this to work you have to go to light amplification night vision and really good displays.   

       PS the link shows a mono-optical system, thus no depth perception. You'd miss that too.   

       Sorry (-)
MisterQED, Jan 05 2010

       // grainy IR illuminator/camera/displays //   

       No. Crisp, clear, hi-res cameras and displays.   

       // HUD digital displays that vaguely come close to decent resolution //   

       They're well into development for FIST.   

       // light amplification night vision and really good display //   

       This is not disputed. The basic technology exists, and is improving rapidly. The concept will be implementable in less that 20 of your Earth years.   

       // the link shows a mono-optical system //   

       Yes, purely to show the current state of the art in that price range.   

       Consider how digital cameras and camcorders have developed since 1990 .......
8th of 7, Jan 05 2010

       I thought night vision used IR, perhaps I'm thinking of something else.
tatterdemalion, Jan 05 2010

       This idea reminds me of driving fast at night with no streetlights or headlights, but with the light of a full moon - great fun!
hippo, Jan 06 2010

       [hippo], with a faux seltbelt, of course.
MikeD, Jan 06 2010

       All it takes is "Some stupid with a flare gun", and see #9.   

       An aside: Anybody remember when smudge pots marked construction sites with geasy smoke by day, dim blue flame by night?
reensure, Jan 07 2010

       // see #9. //   

       "Peak White Inversion"   

8th of 7, Jan 07 2010

       A compromise might be red LEDs that provide illumination at a low level most of the time. If someone/something moves into the area, some supplementary illumination would be supplied (ranging from more red to arc lamp/searchlight).   

       Red light doesn't compromise night vision; and the more radiation the environment supplies to your apparatus, the less power it requires. (The civilian ones I've encountered only work nicely when you light things up with LEDs).   

       Field of view is a problem, still. Someone needs to half-bake a fix for the FOV prolem, then, I suppose.   

       In principle I very much like this idea, though, so here's a bun.   

       A system like the reactive one I propose might be interesting to watch at times of medium level traffic, when illuminations were behaving most dynamically. Maybe pedestrians could trigger green LEDs? And all the cats and owls could flash bright blue?
skoomphemph, Feb 26 2014

       Why not use sonar?
Cuit_au_Four, Feb 26 2014

       Severe crosstalk and interference in high usage areas. Plus sonar is active, not passive, which means substantially higher power demand.
8th of 7, Feb 26 2014

       There was a plan somewhere (in the Wholeworld, not the HB) to decorate the retina with gold nanoparticles. These allegedly have some plasmonic property that would confer night vision.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 26 2014

       I like this. I don't plan to wear these during the day or when I go into a building a night in an attempt to avoid #11, but it does make a whole lot of sense to equip people to see rather than to attempt to illuminate an entire city all night long.   

       // The concept will be implementable in less that 20 of your Earth years // Unfortunately I don't see this happening for a long time. Comparing this to digital cameras and camcorders actually illusrates the point very well. Development of those technologies progressed fairly slowly until they started to hit the mass market. That's when the improvements and cost reduction accelerated rapidly. Some of those technologies apply here, but generally the low light capability of a camera is not one of the bullets on the feature list on the packaging, indicating that people don't care too much. Until it is a major selling point, thre won't be that much R&D. If something could jumpstart this, then the demand for better and cheaper light amplication goggles would cause lots of research and result in fast improvement.   

       Unfortunately to get tehis started, the goggles would have to be very cheap. For this to make sense, the funds to buy everyone their first set needs to come from expected savings over the first lifetime of a typical set of goggles. After that, the tax rate needs to decrease to allow people to buy their own replacements with the money they save on taxes. If there isn't a clear long term financial benefit, I can't imagine people agreeing to it.   

       In the county where I live, the utility company will install and maintain a streetlight on the utlity pole in front of your house (neighborhood outside the city limits) for a fee of about $8 a month. They charge similar rates to municipalities, but if the municipailty does the maintenance, the fee is cut in half. I'm not sure how to estimate the number of people per streetlight, but maybe in a single family residense neighborhoods there are 6 houses per streetlight with an average of 3 people per house. In higher density areas there are appartments and condos with many more people, but lets take a giant leap and say that compensates for the business districts with lots of lightling and no one living there. That makes 6*3 = 18 goggles per street light. Assume that a pair of goggle needs replacing every 4 years. Four year of power and maintenance for a street light costs 12*$8 * 4 = $384. So that mean the goggle must cost less than $384/18 = $21 (adjusted for my wild guesses above). If everyone started buying night vision goggles today I could see the price coming down to that level with decent quality iin 20 years, but without a mass market, the price won't get there for a long time, and we won't get this mass market unless the price gets that low.
scad mientist, Feb 26 2014

       A cogent and well- presented case.   

       It is, however, necessary to include some other factors.   

       a) Pressures for energy conservation that are not purely financial.   

       b) Increased market for NVGs in undeveloped areas where there is no existing infrastructure (as with cellphones).   

       // Until it is a major selling point thre won't be that much R&D. //   

       It is a major selling point in the military market. Current NVGs use image intensifiers that are cold-cathode tubes; they require high voltages, are fragile, and vulnerable to photon flux overload damage.   

       Many armed forces want to give every soldier NVG, with the added benefit that LCD displays can simultaneously display location and other tactical info, plus telemeter back the images from the cameras to HQ. Conventional NV kit can't do that.
8th of 7, Feb 26 2014

       I suppose it might be possible to aim for a different kind of vision?   

       I mean eg. sweep a kind of IR "radome" side to side to give something like a "knight's visor view", digitally reconstructed. Do without a good view of the sky (for that, one's natural night vision - preservable by sticking to the usual green light - should be adequate). Do without a particularly sharp view of the patch you do see better, even. Certainly peripheral vision can be blurry.   

       So to put it very slightly differently, your night vision apparatus scans, and your eyepiece "paints" your eye in corresponding "scans".   

       There are so many problems with this that I very much doubt it leads to any solution, but at least it can function as a fresh new line of enquiry? Maybe.   

       And what about all the things you're going to trip over?   

       How about little LED shoe lights? Hmm.. if I ever get the time, I might try making myself some of those.
skoomphemph, Feb 27 2014

       //"knight's visor view" //   



       Remember, however far you go, the Borg were there first ...
8th of 7, Feb 27 2014

       I should've guessed.   

       OK, so does anyone here know when the diffraction grating knight's visor view was baked or half-baked? I can't seem to find it.
skoomphemph, Feb 28 2014


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