Traditional military-grade nightvision gear has a history stretching back to the Second World War, relying on photomultiplier tubes to help soldiers see in the dark. Such devices have trickled down to the civilian market in intervening years, however other simpler techniques can work too. [Happy_Mad_Scientist] whipped up a simple nightvision monocular using a very sensitive camera instead.
Due to the high noise, still photos don’t do it justice. The video quality is highly impressive for a system running with no IR illumination.
The camera in question is the Runcam Night Eagle 2, prized for its 0.00001 lux sensitivity. Black and white only, its capable of providing vision in moonlight and starlight conditions without external illumination. In this project, it’s hooked up to a monocle display designed for use with drone FPV setups. With lithium batteries and a charge circuit hooked up, and everything stuffed inside a compact 3D printed case, the final result is a portable, pocket sized night vision device for under $200 USD.
[Happy_Mad_Scientist] notes that in starlight conditions, it provides an advantage over other nighttime Airsoft players relying on IR illumination to see in the dark. We can imagine it would perform well in concert with a bright IR headlamp for those times when there’s simply no ambient light available – particularly indoors.
If your tastes are more military-spec, consider this teardown of a high-end Norweigan device. Video after the break.