What is Color Night Vision?

Feb 03, 2022 | 02:48 pm 113 0
What is Color Night Vision?

In today’s world, the night vision technology providing a picture in green or white and black colors is as common as other inventions which have already entered into our life – electricity, radio and television, computers, digital cameras and many others.

Even thermal imaging technology is not new and has become quite available to the broad range of public, putting aside secret military missions or intelligent service operations.

A real new challenge for today is to make the night vision technology help people see at night as clearly as in full day light. And the contributing target is to make the night vision devices transmit the image in the color scheme which is friendly to the human eye. That would ensure that we, humans, can see the night world in colors we are accustomed to observe during the day and, consequently guarantee that we would miss no important details which depend totally on our color-distinguishing capability.

What is Color Night Vision?


So, let us study in detail what is color night vision, what lies under this technology and how this color night vision can be achieved.

Right now, there are two principal ways of how to make night vision colorful.

One method implies adding color filters to the already existing green or white phosphor light intensifier tubes. These filters are made rotary so that rotating at a very high speed they affect the photons passing through them and these photons are perceived by the human eyes as transmitting the natural daylight colors of the objects and the surrounding environment.

Definitely, these colors are not absolutely identical as those of real objects and sceneries, but they are quite close to them.

Another method implies the blending of several vision providing technologies, that is of phosphor-based low-light and infrared radiance intensifiers, thermal imagers and digital cameras.

To cut a long story short and simple, the general principle in use here is to change the light intensifier tube of the conventional phosphor-based night vision device with a digital computing system which processes the incoming low-lit image into an extremely intensified high-fidelity digital picture which is then transmitted in color to the end-user.

Improving this device further with the thermal imager capabilities will allow the color night vision device to make the outcoming picture even more precise and detailed than perceived directly by the human eyes.

Difference between Color Night Vision and Without Color Night Vision


Let us now discuss the possible benefits we can get from making the night vision devices transmit images in their true colors.

As we have already mentioned, we are evolutionarily and biologically accustomed to receiving visual information as multicolored.

So, a simple fact that in low-light conditions we are able to perceive the objects and sceneries almost in the same color scheme as we see them during full daylight is all in itself quite beneficial. Most information the human mind obtains comes through the human eyes, not through the ears or other sensitive organs or tissues of the human body. So, the eyes are the prior means of gaining true situational awareness of the surrounding environment.

At night or in other circumstances when we are devoid of natural visual contact with the surrounding world, we turn up to miss as much as approximately 80 percent of the information we receive in conventional daylight.

Moreover, having had a color vision option, people have developed a great number of color-distinguishing systems through centuries, most of them ensuring safety and mitigating possible risks, starting with the traffic lights of red, yellow and green, varying-color uniforms, bright-colored clothes for specialists involved in risky jobs like associated with mining, transport, road repair works etc. Thus, various colors are traditionally and psychologically appointed to bear additional information which can sometimes turn to be life-saving.

Thus, we start to lack information on many color-distinguishing features, which may be critical when driving a car at night or distinguishing your allies from enemies both having universally identical uniforms which usually differ only in color tints or other minor details, most of which are of visual character, implying varying color schemes.

Even the colored laser markings and rays will be distinguished which will make possible to appoint exact colors of laser to different targets at the same time not to waste time and resources all for one target instead of several ones.

Similarly, chasing a criminal at night, its is very contributing to the police to distinguish the exact colors of the criminal’s clothes and hair, the color of the stolen car and other important color-based issues which will make the night-time operations less time-demanding and more efficient as the low enforcement officers will not waste time and energy on being distracted by other people wearing other-colors clothes or cars painted in other colors.

Even distinguishing one animal species from the other at nighttime if the two kind of animals are very similar, a color night vision device will be a definite aid. Especially if we speak of two similar reptiles – one being a poisonous adder and the other simply a harmless grass snake.

Moreover, as we traditionally see the surrounding objects and sceneries in color, our mind also prefers to receive images as colorful, not monochromic. In other words, colorful images which enter our mind are analyzed and processed far easier and faster than those coming in a two-color scheme, thus making people’s reactions increasingly faster and more efficient.

With an unusual green or black and white picture, the mind may waste precious seconds and extra resources on processing the inconveniently presented information, thus sometimes missing crucial details or working much slower than in more natural environment.

For example, monotonous night driving and the contributing “nighty” environment may result in lack of reaction and even cause sleepiness and tiredness which may in their turn lead to a road accident.

Even more importantly, pilots are reported to have degraded reactions at night time due to the lacking full-range visual references and unusual visual information. The introduction of color night vision into the aviation routines will definitely make the air transport safer and more reliable.

Therefore, color night vision, which is now just making its first steps into our everyday life is obviously promising to improve it enormously, monochromic night vision devices being just a good original move of the fast-evolving technology.

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