How does night vision technology work? A Black Hawk helicopter seen through night vision goggles. (Thinkstock)
How does night vision technology work?
Lexile

You asked us, how does night vision technology work?
 
Our eyes allow us to see a wide range of lights. When the sun goes down, our ability to make out stuff drops off quickly. Colors fade and things get fuzzy, till our eyes become useless and we're what goes bump in the night.
 
Cue night vision technology.
 
There are two very cool types. The first is thermal imaging. It registers on the upper portion of the infrared light spectrum. It is invisible to humans. This kind of light is emitted as heat by things like warm bodies, recently driven cars and even some chemicals.

Thermal imaging devices can see through the fog, smoke and dust.
 
Type number two amplifies available light from the visible spectrum as well as some infrared light. It makes things look brighter than they appear to the naked eye. 

Most night vision equipment uses this imaging enhancement technology. However it's useless if it's pitch black.
 
Originally developed to spot enemy targets, night vision is now used for all kinds of things. It's used in things from military gear to baby monitors. Because you know, you've got to get the upper hand on these babies.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why would baby monitors use military technology?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (211)
  • ellans-1-bar
    4/20/2016 - 08:24 p.m.

    Baby monitors use military technology, because babies sleep in the dark where nothing can disturb them. The night vision technology can help the parents spy on the child while it sleeps, as does enemies in war. For example, "Type number two amplifies available light from the visible spectrum as well as some infrared light. It makes things look brighter than they appear to the naked eye." This explains why babies and militaries need and use the same technology.

  • joey0111-byo
    4/20/2016 - 08:33 p.m.

    Baby monitors use military technology, to keep track of your child when your back is turned. Also, it would be hard to see your baby when it is dark with a regular camera.

  • anthonyg1-ver
    4/20/2016 - 09:11 p.m.

    Wow that is cool. I have always wondered how night vision worked, and now I know.

  • anthonyg1-ver
    4/20/2016 - 09:13 p.m.

    Baby monitors use this military technology because you know, you've got to get the upper hand on these babies.

  • jacobh-kut
    4/20/2016 - 09:45 p.m.

    Its cool to know that nightvision and thermal imaging are a thing because what would happen if we didnt have them? Some military forces would be useless and blind.

    Why would baby monitors use military technology?
    I highly doubt that baby monitors use military grade nightvision but do use some sort of nightvision such as civilian grade.

    I find it surprising that thermal imaging can pick up so many things such as chemicals and leftover car exhaust.

  • ben0424-yyca-byo
    4/20/2016 - 09:48 p.m.

    Night vision technology is interesting. It can be used for a variety of things. You can use it to play with your friends, or see through the smoke of a smoke bomb on the war field. I haven't really wondered about night vision until this passage. I really don't know what you might need it for a baby though. You could just install a camera to record the feed, not a night vision camera.
    Critical Thinking Question Answer: Baby monitors might use night vision, because they will need to see the baby at night.

  • annag-4-bar
    4/20/2016 - 09:48 p.m.

    Baby monitors use military technology because in order to see the baby on the baby monitor, night vision must be used. Smithsonian says,"Type number two amplifies available light from the visible spectrum as well as some infrared light. It makes things look brighter than they appear to the naked eye."
    I chose this article because I think night vision is really cool.

  • simonak-3-bar
    4/20/2016 - 09:50 p.m.

    Baby monitors use military technology because they have similar uses. Baby monitors today "(are) now used for all kinds of things. It's used in things from military gear to baby monitors." Baby monitors contain the same technology as baby monitors because they are both used to detect noise or movement.
    My opinion on this article is that it is interesting and I am glad that I learned about it.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    4/20/2016 - 11:13 p.m.

    Baby monitors would use military technology because baby monitors need to be able to pick up the faintest sounds, that babies may make, to alert the parents if their children need help. The article says, "Because you know, you've got to get the upper hand on these babies." This shows that parents need to know when their children need help, and using military technology makes that possible. I was interested in this article because I like to learn about new technologies in use. I was surprised that military technology is used in baby monitors.

  • natalier-4-bar
    4/20/2016 - 11:45 p.m.

    Baby monitors would use military technology because,"When the sun goes down, our ability to make out stuff drops off quickly. Colors fade and things get fuzzy, till our eyes become useless,"(paragraph 1). Baby monitors allow the parents or baby sitter to always be able to watch the baby from another room or place. When it is night time it is just as crucial to watch the baby, so baby monitors use night vision technology so the guardian can still see the baby at night time. The military just happens to use the same night vision technology for other things. I liked this article I didn't know that there were two different kinds of night vision. I thought it was just plain night vision, I didn't know how complex it is.

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