Who Discovered The Night Vision System?

Some people may not know what a night vision system is, how it works and in which place it is used? This topic would really help them to clarify their doubts. 

The hungarian physicist was the first to discover the night vision system. An infrared sensor in the night vision system helps to look the glare image very clearly.

The infrared spectrum above the visible light captures the picture in the sensor of a video camera. 

A thermographic camera in an automatic night vision system helps to increase the divers’ perception in darkness beyond the reach of the vehicles’ headlights. Night vision cameras provide a clear image similar to the daytime camera.

Night Vision Device

Night vision device is an optical equipped device that allows image to be produced in the levels of light even in darkness. Active night vision device is also called an infrared imaging device. 

Night Vision Devices are useful for people in different fields for its amazing technology

The name passive night vision system is now available in the general public stores, but in ancient times this night vision system cannot be purchased in the public stores because it is only used by the military people during wars.

Night vision devices are also known as Night Optical devices or Night Observation devices. A night vision device is active with the help of an IR illuminator. This system has the ability to see the image that was picked up in the minimal light for example starlight.

How Night Vision Technology Works?

Fundamental principle of Night Vision Technology

The three main types of night vision technology are : thermal imaging, image intensification, and active illumination. 

An image intensifier, a vacuum tube based device would be generated by the image from a small number of photons. Intensification is also known as image because the incoming light is lighter than the output light.

The lighting direction, intensity and patterns are controlled by the commands or signals control. The dynamic range defines the range of detectable signal levels. The examples of active illumination are low light cameras.

Even in light rain, light snow, and also in total darkness, thermal imaging scopes help us to capture a photo with much clarity. The design of thermal imaging scopes are mounted in front of the day time scopes. Thermal radiations are detected by the bolometers that allows the infrared sensing in snakes.

Who Discovered Night Vision System?

In 1929, the Hungarian Physicist named Kálmán Tihanyi was the first to discover the night vision system. Kalman Tihanyi was an electrical engineer and the physicist also invented the first infrared sensitive night vision system named electronic television camera.

This electronic television night vision camera is more useful in the aircraft defense functions to safeguard the peoples’ life. Kalman Tihanyi also invented the design of automatic pilotless aircraft with night vision technology, to fight against the enemies for protecting the country.

In 1939, night vision devices were first introduced by the German army and equipped 50 Panther tanks with night optics by the end of the second world war. The German army also introduced the first military device that was used in the second world war.

History Of Night Vision System

Germans and Americans began in developing the night vision system during the second world war. Night vision devices require the soldiers to carry the battery with infrared searchlights because it helps them to provide a clear image during the operation at night.

Night vision scopes convert the spectrum of incoming light to a frequency light and this helps to see the clear image with more clarity by our eyes. In the last century, specialized light was changed to super sensitive film in night vision technology.

With our naked eyes we cannot see the stars clearly in the sky, so we can prefer night vision starlight scopes to see them. Night vision scope may also help to capture the images clearly with more clarity.

All the best rifle scopes are composed of a tube, elevation, and magnification is adjusted by a power ring. The second functions of night vision scopes are that the non-visible light enters the tube and is shifted to a visible light that exits the ocular lens.

Thermal scopes not used for military use, they are used to find the people who are lost in the woods and also the bodies buried under the rubble. Nowadays, night vision is used in many places like police stations and also in the military

Development of Generation

In the 1940s the United States started researching the night vision device that can work during night time. By the end of the decade, the country managed to create the technology program in the year 1950. 

Finally, the country has created an infrared imaging system. Active night vision device is also called an infrared imaging device.

i] Generation 1

In the year 1960, the passive device was developed in the first generations. And this passive device is used in the Vietnam war patented by the US army. 

By using this we can see the stars clearly near our eyes and it helps us to capture the picture in a correct manner. Examples of generation 1 night vision scopes are listed below:

  • AN/PVS-1 starlight scope
  • AN?PVS-2 starlight scope
  • PAS 6 varo metascope
  • PNV-57E tanker goggles

ii] Generation 2

In the year 1970, the second generation device was developed. This device is used to improve the image intensifier tube using a micro channel plate and it also results in a brighter image around the edge of the lens.

Second generation device was smaller but it was less bulky, it also improved the image resolution and reliability. The light amplification was around 20000 [10].The tactical characteristics of GEN 2 + devices are the advanced technology of the second generation. Examples of second generation night vision devices are given below:

  • An/PVS 3 Miniaturized
  • AN/PVS 4
  • AN/PVS 5
  • PNV 10T

iii] Generation 3

Third generation device was developed in the year 1980 which helps in improving the image resolution and it maintains the MCP is coated with iron barrier film from GEN 2. Iron barrier is used to increase the tube life of third generation devices. 

The halo effect around the bright spots is larger too and the light amplification was around 30000 to 50000 [10]. GEN 2 is less than power consumption. Examples of third generation night vision devices are mentioned below:

  • AN/PVS 7[15]
  • AN/NVS 7
  • AN/PVS 10
  • AN/PSQ 20
  • PN-21K
  • AN/PVS 17
  • AN/PVS 14 [16]


Night vision system is more useful in safeguarding the people’s lives who are suffering from hunting at night. The quality of the image is based on the night vision devices quality. 

During the second world war night vision was used only by the military and came into a wide use in the Vietnam war. An automatic pilotless aircraft, the night vision technology is used to fight against the enemies for protecting our country. 

Night vision devices have enough light and enough contrast to create usable images. An automatic night vision system helps to increase the divers’ perception in darkness beyond the reach of the vehicles’ headlights.

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