Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Uses for Thermal Imaging Systems

Uses for Thermal Imaging Systems
Thermal Imaging Systems are like a regular camera in that they take videos or photos, but that is where the similarities stop. Thermal Imaging Systems measure radiation instead of light and areas that create more radiation, or are warmer, register in different shades or colors that those areas that have a lack of radiation. A photo of a person would show the area around the eyes, nose and mouth white to yellow, and the colder areas like feet and fingers might register as blue or black. Thermal Imaging systems are used for many different applications today.

Thermal cameras were used as far back as the Korean War and World War II to find targets for bombing purposes or to see the location of enemy troupes in the dark of night. Police use thermal imagers to see where people are located. They can tell if someone is in a dwelling or the positioning of people in a building enabling them to save hostages and capture perpetrators. Border patrol finds thermal imaging helpful in catching those that would illegally come across the border with or without illicit drugs and weapons. Fire fighters use thermal imaging to find people in forest fires or burning buildings.

Thermal imaging systems are used for surveillance as they can indicate intruders during the dark hours of night. Construction workers use them to find areas where insulation is not working correctly. A dark area around a window indicates more insulation is needed so that cold does leak in during the winter and air conditioning does not leak out during the summer. Utility workers use them to find hot spots in power lines and mechanics use them to find areas in in engines that run hot. Doctors are beginning to use thermal imaging to find infected tissue in the body and can even detect some types of cancers.

A popular use for thermal imaging is in paranormal studies. Paranormal entities that cannot be seen by the naked eye, either give off a great deal of radiation and are hot or create cold areas because of low radiation. They are easily indicated on a thermal camera in bright yellows and reds or in cool blues and purples.

Thermal imaging systems are very useful in many different ways, but they are very expensive. A good system will cost $4000 to $8000 although less expensive systems are on the market.  If you are looking to buy Thermal Imaging Systems click here to go to nightvisiongoggles.com

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Night Vision

Night Vision Night vision is a catch-all phrase that refers to any of the methods available to see in low light conditions. The technologically based methods are thermal imaging and image enhancement, with different categories in each of these methods. Biological night vision is something only possessed by animals, usually nocturnal predators or creatures that primarily live in low light conditions.

Biological Night Vision
Many animals possess an extra bit of tissue in their eyes that humans do not have. This tissue reflects the available light back into the retina increasing the amount of light to see with. Some other traits such as larger pupils and unique adaptations in the visual properties of the eyes also enhance the low light vision of these animals.

Night Vision Devices
Some night vision devices work on a similar principle as biological night vision by capturing the available light and then amplifying it. This happens by capturing the ambient light and near infrared light and converting it to electrons. These electrons push through a microchannel plate that causes collisions to excite the atoms and generate more electrons. Converting this greater number of electrons back to light increases the amount of light used for sight. This is usually known as image enhancement and is how night glasses and low light cameras work.

Infrared Light
Infrared light is best thought of as three different types of light. Two types of this light reflect off of objects, but this is not visible to the human eye. They are known as near infrared because it is closest to the visible spectrum of humans and mid infrared which is further away from the human spectrum range. Objects emit the third type of infrared light and the hotter an object is, the more infrared light it emits.

Thermal Imaging
Thermal imaging makes use of infrared light emissions from objects. This light is not visible to the human eye, but cameras can capture it. Thermal imaging works in near darkness conditions and does not require ambient light to function. Thermal imaging devices work by focusing the infrared light of all the objects in view onto an array of infrared detectors. These detectors convert the information into a temperature pattern known as a thermogram. This is translated into electrical impulses and sent to a processing unit. This converts the impulses into data for displaying on a screen. The performance of thermal imaging devices improves if the infrared-detector elements are kept at a low temperature, but this is impractical for field work or transportable devices.

Active Infrared Imaging
This type of night vision combines the capture of near infrared light with cameras that can detect it. This produces a black and white display with much greater resolution than other types of night vision technology. It is most common in security camera applications of a static nature like protecting a warehouse or residential home. It is not viable for tactical military operations because other types of night vision devices can spot the infrared light, and it would give away the position of the troops using it.

Biological Thermal Imaging
It is worth noting that some animals are sensitive to thermal images as well. Snakes like the cobra are known for being able to strike the hottest areas on their prey's body. This makes their poison attack more effective since the hottest parts of the body are usually where the vital organs are located.
Night vision technologies have become popular due to their use in movies and television shows, but their function is generally misunderstood by the public. Night vision devices use available light to work and are not functionable in complete darkness. Thermal imaging devices are more useful in situations of greater darkness since they are not so reliant on light.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Night Vision Ends the Darkness

Night vision technology isn't just for the military anymore. Though the best equipment is typically affordable only for military or police use, cheaper night vision gadgets are easily obtainable for everyday citizens to turn what used to be the dark into a whole new playground. Though some night vision equipment used for government applications also harnesses thermal imaging technology, which captures infrared light being created by heat, most merely use image or light enhancement technology. This involves collecting what little light is left in a dark area, such as starlight or moonlight on the bottom end of the spectrum of infrared light, then amplifying that light so that it can be seen. The path from darkness to light, in scientific terms: The photons of available light are cast by an objective lens upon a image intensifier called a photocathode. Electrons are emitted from this cathode, which then multiply and become intensified by a "microchannel plate" until finally passing through a phosphor screen, which allows the viewer to see a more robust version of those original scant photons of light. The result of consumer night vision is what is commonly known as a green output image. These images have greatly improved in vibrancy and cost-effectiveness since the technology emerged on the market in the 1950s. A person without night vision can see in the dark about 250 yards under a full moon and about 50 yards under a quarter moon. Now, with consumer-level night vision technology, that person can see 890 and 850 yards, respectively. Even with overcast skies, dimming out even starlight, night vision can let the average person see more than 200 yards away. Depending on the quality of the camera and conscientiousness of its manufacturer, night vision binoculars can vary widely in their effectiveness. The military-model ATN PS23-4 night-vision, helmet-mounted binoculars -- sell for upwards of $11,000 (USD; November 2012) but allow for visibility of up to 200 yards in total darkness, an infrared "illuminator" component, high-resolution auto-focus, and can be dropped in water. On the other end of the spectrum, toys like the Spy Net Night Vision Surveillance Goggles cost about $40 (USD; November 2012) -- and at least allow for about 50 feet of nighttime visibility. How much more does a brother need to torment a little sibling? Not to mention, this toy lets owners record up to 20 minutes of video or 2,000 photographic images on a USB device that allows for later access via computer or TV. Most of the night vision goggles manufactured in 2012 retail somewhere between these two extremes, in the $200-$500 (USD) price range. Some forego buying a dedicated set of goggles anyway, and just get a video camera instead. Since the 1990s, many home video cameras have come with standard with a night vision mode. In 2009, Samsung became the first to make a cell phone capable of recording video in night vision, the SCH-W760.  Night vision technology is now an integral part of many home security systems too. For upwards of $100 (USD) each, wireless cameras capable of infrared, night vision and regular spectrum capture are helping regular civilians perform surveillance on their properties with military proficiency. These wireless feeds can be monitored day or night, with motion-detection alerts, from a master terminal displayed on the laptop of a property owner who's sipping margaritas thousands of miles away. Ah, technology.