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DIY infrared goggles

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07:03 AM ET (US)
Bill Beaty
"I've heard claims that the human retina can see 950nM light just fine if the human is looking into the output of an infrared laser. I haven't tried it myself!"

I'm glad you haven't tried this ;-) Eye damage would be imminent.

You don't need an IR Laser to see these wavelengths, I see 940nm dead easy, but has to be in total darkness, with a time period for the eyes to get adjusted. If your on-axis you can see the IR, this may vary between individuals.

10:16 PM ET (US)
Oh, for christ's sake, a hoax?? You've got to be kidding me. Go spend the $20 and make some yourself. You'll see it's not a "hoax". I did. OH MY GOD, I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BEFORE! IT MUST BE A LIE!

Get a life!
09:54 AM ET (US)
There seems to be many who say you can't see IR ... Wrong. The fact that I can, is causing me a problem. I work in the security field, ultra low light video camera's, IR illuminators etc, most of these have to be totally Covert, with respect to the IR spotlights.
Currently using Osram SFH 4503 IR leds, which have a peak wavelength @950nm, a half angle of +/-4 degrees, spectral bandwidth of 40nm and a radiant intensity of 250mW/sr. These are really bright. There is about 10% of this bandwidth at 875nm, tailing off to about 1% at 850nm, so basically nothing below 845nm. With a 12x led spot, using these leds, in total darkness, and viewed, on-axis, these are Very easy to see, not covert at all. Ok, we're possibly only seeing the 850nm end, but is seen as quite bright due to the 8 degree beam angle and the high power of these leds.

So as to humans 'Not' seeing IR, I would have to disaggree, it's all down to relative intensity, eye colour seems to be relevant too, if the IR is very powerful, the eye will catch some of this.

11:22 PM ET (US)
Get a grip. How does a photographic plate approximate human vision? The idea of these glasses, another version of the bonafide aura glasses is to enhance or attune to a narrow range between "blue" and "red". Which overlap to make "indigo". Not real scientific but neither is looking at a color and going "green" "yellow and blue make green". The apperance of color and its likeness (wavelength) are different issues. I believe the esoteric range we are dealing with is 435nm. Its not the actual eyes that pick this up as much as the "brain". Think of it in another way. 3d glasses. But here you have red on one side and blue on the other the brain "extrapolates" the image producing a 3d effect. However, we want out third eye and or visual cortex which already does quite a bit of reversing and upside-downing. We are trying to find the "center" which is the spike spectrum between two or more colors. Any of the know-it-all's care to explain how to filter blue so that only yellow-green gets through into the brain? In other words, cut blue but using two colors (negative blue photo filter wont work, a camera and film doesnt approximate the human brain). I've seen makeshift infrared camera's in a oss spy book that was basically IR filter over a camera lens using IR film. Problem is you cant "see" what your taking a picture of. The yellow-green issue puts us closer to understanding the "center" of the spike spectrum artifact produced by merging or combining the spectrums of two or more (maybe ir and or uv filter helps) colors to help our brain tune into a narrow band where "red" and "blue" overlap. In this case its more of "short wavelength ir" and "short wavelength ultraviolet". Or primary red and SWUV or whatever. There are actually more than one answer to the question producing different empirically observable results. People are taking his page too seriously. They arent IR amplification goggles. It clearly says that. The terms "blue" and "red" and IR are used loosely because it really matters whats really there not what we think we see. The congo blue or congo blue and red seem to miss the mark a bit. The spike isnt even really close to 435nm anyways. There is actually something quite fishy about getting a straight answer as to what wavelength(s) of light a color of glasses or sports lenses or filters for photographs are. You'll find that "purple" shooting glasses arent really violet or indigo but just particles of red and green. Same with so called pink or even the filter you put on auto glass which is (using a tritone scale) magenta or cyan particles to create a smoke or grey wash. Likeness is not appearance with is a pretty good premise for people to start from. Instead of deriding people, post hard data that makes the issue easyer to talk about. Is there an equasion for calculating spike spectrums of combined wavelengths of color/hue according to the normal range of human sight? Someone please answer my question about 555nm. What two colors wavelengths will converge to create a 555nm spike spectrum when worn over the human eye as "filters" (not glasses that let in light from the sides).
10:40 PM ET (US)
Your never going to believe this but these goggles are already a commercial product.I have a pair of these, you have to check this site out.
02:19 AM ET (US)
I just made a pair of these goggles today, and found it an amazing experience walking around outside with heavily filtered vision.

It's a very hot, bright Australian summer's day today, so a huge amount of IR to work with. I made the filters up with 7 laters of Congo Blue, and 2 of the Primary Red and experimeted a bit adding and removing layers.

What amazed me was the difference between my experience and my girlfriends. An experience which gives some credence to the view that Near-IR or IR can't easily be defined as light we can't see, but instead has to be defined by wavelength. You see, my girlfriend couldn't see much at all. To her the world looked very dark, and grass and trees were just visible and looked greyish.

To me the world lit up like a Sci-Fi wonderland. Concrete and rocks were black, the grass and trees white, and black clothing went grey/white. I experimeted a little, taking the red filters out to give myself some diferent effects and found that the world changed again , now black and green things were BRIGHT orange, almost flourescent like orange flouro under a UV light would appear.

I tried my girlfriend again. She still just saw a dark world, even after I made her stand with the goggles on for some minutes outside in the bright sun. Whereas my eyes, instant adaption, and a vivid and sureal world.

I was even able to make my way around inside, just. Regular globes in teh house glowed a deep red, and flouro lights where a purplish UV/Blacklight colour.

So it's clear to me that with Red & Blue filters I'm getting a pretty much IR heavy view of the world, and with teh Red removed the view is made a little more colourful, but still so completely different the presence of wavelengths not normally registered is obvious.

Ohh, and just for the sake of those wondering what it all cost...

The Gel filters, biught in sheets cost me a total of AUD$30 and the Welding goggles with removable lenses cost AUD$28. I have HEAPS of filter material left, so I'll possible auction of strips, enough to make a set of lenses on Ebay to recoup some costs.

My next step is to get some deeper blue and try and drop the passed wavelength down even lower and see what I can see.
08:03 PM ET (US)
If it's really infrared or not it depends on what definition of visible light is adopted. Some authors states that visible light ends at 700 nm, others around 800 nm. Regardless if it is NIR or not, it's very amasing to see that things can look different at extreme red (e.g., plants get very reflective). I had the opportunity of seeing in this frequency range myself when looking at the grass using a filter that allowed almost only the IR radiation to pass (I don't remeber the cuttof waveleght, it was around 800 nm). Given that with this filter it took around 1 minute for my eye to get adapted to the darkness, I guess that the peak response of my eye+filter was around 0.001% - 0.0001% of eye sensitivity around 570 nm. Peak wavelenght probably was between 700nm - 850nm.
11:15 PM ET (US)

I would like to try this out myself. Hard to believe unless I see it myself. Where can I get this filter? Photography shop or lighting shop? Please advice.
Bill Beaty
11:48 PM ET (US)
Here's some simple empirical evidence that the goggles are IR. No instruments needed! Make a set of the goggles. Observe various types of black cloth during a sunny day. While wearing the goggles, you'll note that some black cloth will appear light grey. Now use a black felt-tip markter to write on this cloth. Draw pictures, make rude grafitti. Without the goggles it appears black on black, and normal human eyes won't see it. But if you're wearing the goggles, you'll clearly see the black writing on the IR-grey cloth. Black ink is based on carbon, which is a good IR absorber. But some black clothing dyes are not very "black" at IR frequencies, so infrared cameras (and eyes) see the cloth as grey.
Edited 10-11-2005 11:52 PM
Bill Beaty
11:40 PM ET (US)
It's no hoax, it works just fine, as people who've made the goggles can attest. (It's very interesting how angry this stuff makes some people.)

And yes, if we define the word "infrared" as meaning "invisible light," then if humans CAN see it, it must not be infrared. Bt that argument is more politics than sicence. The real question is about whether we can see 750nM or 800nM or 850nM light. Textbooks call this "near infrared," and your retina just barely picks it up. The farther out in wavelength, the worse your sensitivity, and the brighter the light must be in order to see anything.

If you try making these goggles, a single layer of congo blue will give results which resemble red light. If you want to see frosty pink trees and a black sky, you need at least three layers; seven is better. And you nee a bright summer day.

I've heard claims that the human retina can see 950nM light just fine if the human is looking into the output of an infrared laser. I haven't tried it myself!
JosephCarlBernsPerson was signed in when posted
11:32 PM ET (US)
As an experienced infrared-goggle wearing person, I read about it on the internet and decided to investigate, I must say that it does work. It is a different filter than is used in IR-Photography, the ones used for goggles pass blue light, not only IR. Wearing the goggles is a completely incredible experience, I recommend everyone to spend the small amount of time and $ it takes and make a pair. They do work, and work very well. The only way to describe it is that it looks like a Tim Burton movie. I cannot say enough good things about these goggles, they are really great.
CraniacPerson was signed in when posted
02:14 AM ET (US)
"Take a working IR remote. Go into a windowless dark room, or some other place of complete darkness. Give your eyes a few minutes to adjust. Stick the remote's IR LED up to your face, and start pressing buttons. If you are like many people, you will be able to see a faint glow when you press the buttons."

When I tried the above at home, every time I changed channels with my remote I forgot what I was doing and began to obey the voices. After I wrapped the remote in white cloth, however, the voices stopped. Why is that?
vernPerson was signed in when posted
02:32 AM ET (US)
It is, in my opinion, a hoax. I have shot b&w infrared film with a camera, and it sounded much like he described it. What I don't like is the colors. What he describes sounds very much like artificial color IR film. It appears to have shades of red and pink to give the IR more of a color look, but I don't think it would really look that way. What I am trying to say is that, given my research while shooting the film, very low visible red light can look very much like IR. The filter I used to shoot IR was a #25 Red Filter, but allowed red light to pass through it. Having a red filter vs. an IR only filter will only slightly change the resulting pictures. In my opinion, based on what I have seen of real IR photography, he is seeing the very lowest end of the visible red light, which, while being close to the IR spectrum, may not really be IR. I would like to see the results of using a filter that allowed more red, and comparing the two.
This website has examples of B&W IR photography, and I think some artificial color as well.
Jerry KindallPerson was signed in when posted
02:20 AM ET (US)
"Humans can't see IR." Which is tautologically true because infrared is defined as a part of the spectrum that humans can't see.
kenmcePerson was signed in when posted
10:17 PM ET (US)
Kickstart70- This isn't meant to be a spy tool. I think everything looks pretty dim when you are wearing it.

Wiley - damage to the brain will not change the spectral response of the eye. Damage to the cornea, such as cataract surgery, will. After cataract surgery you can see further into the ultraviolet. The human cornea is specifically designed to keep UV out of your eye, where it could damage things.

Maf - Our vision works pretty good, but in some ways it is a kind of patched together system. there is variability in the pigments we have in the human eye. The spectral response of the individual photopigments is usually shown as being a bell curve. This project is designed to cut out everything but the extreme long wave fringe of your vision. What if we did have a tiny bit of visual IR sensitivity? If no one is checking, how would we know?

I have purchased a pair of goggles and have the Lee filters on order. It could be pure bunk, but by next week sometime I will know for myself.
Kickstart70Person was signed in when posted
06:56 PM ET (US)
Doesn't this basically do a similar thing to the "x-ray cameras" the media was freaking out about a while back?

So is this guy basically able to see through some clothing?
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