Night vision devices use some of the most sophisticated technology that’s available today. They are used in many ways for civil and military purposes. From drone-mounted cameras to night vision goggles on infantry o surveillance cameras in residential, commercial and government buildings. These are a necessity if you want to see in the dark. But what if you want to hide from them? What technologies are used today to help you hide from night vision devices?
There are three types of technology used in night vision cameras. The first one is image intensification, then comes active illumination and the last is thermal imaging.
Image intensification technology
Image intensification technology maximizes the amount of light received from different natural sources (like starlight or moonlight). This technology doesn’t work in complete darkness because there is no light to absorb and magnify. Night vision devices with image intensification technology are best recognized by the green image they create.
To hide from this type of technology scientist have developed various models of military camouflage that’s covered with carefully crafted patterns which reflect infrared lights and blend the person wearing it with the environment. This type of protection doesn’t always work, because of random elements like weather or different environments. Recently, the researchers at UC Irvine have developed camouflage coating based on a pencil squid that is invisible to the infrared cameras. They based this coating on protein called reflectin which, with a mixture of chemicals, provides infrared invisibility. Researchers hope that this type of camouflage will have the ability to turn on and off its infrared invisibility, so it could be used in various types of missions.
Active illumination technology
Active illumination combines image intensification technology with an active illumination source of the near or shortwave infrared band. These types of cameras provide high-quality imaging at night or low-light conditions. They are widely used in commercial, residential and government security.
Hiding from this types of cameras is difficult, but a few years ago German company Blucher Systems GmbH developed thermal/IR (Infrared) camouflage fabric technology that makes the person wearing it nearly invisible to infrared cameras. Fabric for this camouflage uses metalized fibers to achieve infrared and thermal signature reduction.
Thermal imaging technology
This technology detects the temperature difference between objects. Thermal imaging cameras are one of the best tools available for night vision. These cameras detect thermal radiation or even the slightest temperature changes in the air. They do not require any light so they can work in pitch black dark, unlike the previously mentioned cameras. They can even work in the light rain, and see through smoke and fog. The only way to hide from thermal imaging cameras is to hide your heat signature.
The easiest solution is to cover yourself with a thermal blanket made of Mylar foil. It blocks your heat signature from thermal cameras, but its downside is that it traps your heat beneath the blanket. This is only a temporary solution because heat needs to escape and without proper heat venting system your cover will be blown. Another problem with thermal cloaking technology is that your heat signature might look too cold on thermal cameras, which can also raise the suspicion.
As we can see from this article, there are many tricks and inventions that can help us hide from night vision devices, but none of them are 100% secure. Whether if it’s your heat escaping beneath a thermal blanket, the camouflage that’s not blending completely into the background or something else, your invisibility might be compromised. That’s why there is no certain way for you to hide from night vision cameras when you’re out in the open.