Night Vision for the Rest of Us
Night-vision devices have come quite a long way since the Vietnam 1st-Generation optics. And as technology has improved and production costs have come down, demand continues to grow in the civilian market.
One of the premier night-vision technologies that the military and law enforcement use on regular basis is forward-looking infrared. This technology allows the viewer to see differences in thermal radiation that objects give off, clearly contrasting an individual or animal from its background. Since most night-vision devices (Gen I – Gen III) require some amount of ambient light to work (and will not work in the day), flir devices have a clear advantage (no pun intended :)).
Despite the obvious benefits for preparedness-minded people such as yourselves, this technology has been too expensive to make it worth while. However times are changing. FLIR, the company which has pioneered this technology, is trying to increase its position in the civilian market. And along with this they will soon be releasing a FLIR monocular/camera called the “Scout”.
Here’s a video showing off some real time images/video produced by the Scout:
Aside from the TEOTWAWKI applications (personal security, poach hunting etc) there are quite a number of other applications (taken from the FLIR website);
- See people: Keep track of the rest of your hiking or camping party – in the darkest nights, and even when they’re obscured by light foliage.
- See animals: everything gives off heat, so animals can’t use their natural camouflage to hide from Scout. Discover those hard-to-spot animals that you’ve always wanted to see, day and night.
- Track game: – sportsmen can use Scout to track wounded animals by following their heat signatures directly, or by detecting signs they leave behind like blood trails and foot prints.
- Stay safe: – Scout’s thermal night vision technology lets you see clearly through smoke, dust, and light fog so you can stay safe in the outdoors when conditions deteriorate.
- Lightweight and rugged – Scout is rugged, fully submersible, and built to last. Weighing less than a pound-and-a-half, it won’t drag you down.
- Easy to use – direct, push-button access to all camera controls make Scout easy to use, even with gloves on
- See more, and see farther, than with other night-vision technologies because Scout sees clearly without any light whatsoever, it can see farther at night than other imaging technologies that need ambient light to work, and can see heat sources that these other cameras could never find.
- There are dozens of at-home uses for Scout as well including home security, location of heat leaks, and detection of water damage. Its ¼ x 20 tripod mounting hole and video output make it easy to mount on an ATV, pickup, or SUV.
Another interesting video explaining some of the uses for this product with some more detail in law-enforcement applications:
Without officially testing this, I can in no way provide a strong argument either way. But this looks like a great piece of equipment and the capabilities look amazing!
So how much for this bad-boy? For the Scout the company is quoting around $3000. Not cheap, but it beats the prices a few years back of around $10,000+. Still, I’d like to give it a bit more time to let the idea percolate inside my head.