DiscoverT.REX TALKStrange Night Vision Devices of the Present and Past with Nick Chen
Strange Night Vision Devices of the Present and Past with Nick Chen

Strange Night Vision Devices of the Present and Past with Nick Chen

Update: 2024-06-04
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Nick Chen, a guest on T-Rex Talk, shares his journey into the world of night vision and high-speed photography. He explains how his move to California, where his wife works for Zeiss, led him to explore night vision devices. He describes his passion for the technology, his desire to experiment with new devices, and his addiction to pushing the boundaries of what's possible. Nick also discusses his involvement in documenting historical firearm projects, including Jonathan Wilde's Flieger Foust and 202 Flash launchers. He talks about the challenges of capturing night vision images and the limitations of digital night vision compared to analog. Nick expresses his excitement about the future of night vision technology, particularly the potential for combining digital night vision with thermal imaging. He also shares his thoughts on the growing accessibility of night vision technology and the importance of understanding its specific applications. Nick's collection of rare and obscure night vision devices is a testament to his passion for the field. He showcases some of his most interesting pieces, including a French Soaplem TN2, a Tallest Lucy, and a Ukrainian PBS 21 with a thermal camera. He discusses the unique features and challenges of these devices, highlighting the importance of understanding the specific applications of different night vision technologies. Nick also touches on the pricing of rare night vision devices, emphasizing the wide range of values depending on the technology, condition, and rarity. He concludes by discussing the potential for multi-use observation devices, hinting at a future conversation about the exciting possibilities of combining different sensors and technologies.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction: Night Vision and Nick Chen

This Chapter introduces the topic of night vision and introduces Nick Chen, the guest on the podcast. Nick is described as a friend to the firearm industry with a passion for night vision and optical devices. He is known for his collection of rare and obscure night vision technology.

00:00:12
Nick Chen's Night Vision Journey

This Chapter delves into Nick's journey into the world of night vision. He explains how his move to California led him to explore night vision devices. He describes his passion for the technology, his desire to experiment with new devices, and his addiction to pushing the boundaries of what's possible.

00:00:55
The Appeal of Night Vision

This Chapter explores Nick's initial fascination with night vision. He discusses the mental hurdle of the high cost of night vision devices and how he started with cheaper digital options before eventually acquiring more advanced analog devices. He also talks about the challenges of capturing night vision images and the limitations of digital night vision compared to analog.

00:01:22
The Future of Night Vision

This Chapter focuses on Nick's thoughts about the future of night vision technology. He discusses the potential for combining digital night vision with thermal imaging and the growing accessibility of night vision technology. He also emphasizes the importance of understanding the specific applications of different night vision technologies.

00:01:53
The Rise of Night Vision Awareness

This Chapter explores the growing awareness and interest in night vision technology. Nick compares the current situation to the recent surge in interest in suppressors, highlighting the role of the internet in disseminating information and fostering a deeper understanding of the technology.

00:03:04
Nick's Collection of Rare Night Vision Devices

This Chapter showcases Nick's collection of rare and obscure night vision devices. He describes some of his most interesting pieces, including a French Soaplem TN2, a Tallest Lucy, and a Ukrainian PBS 21 with a thermal camera. He discusses the unique features and challenges of these devices, highlighting the importance of understanding the specific applications of different night vision technologies.

00:04:33
Pricing of Rare Night Vision Devices

This Chapter delves into the pricing of rare night vision devices. Nick emphasizes the wide range of values depending on the technology, condition, and rarity. He discusses the value of thermal magnifiers and the impact of the germanium shortage on the market.

00:05:00
Beyond the Visible Spectrum

This Chapter explores the fascinating world of technology that operates beyond the visible light spectrum. Nick discusses the unique properties of 1550 nanometer lasers and their potential applications. He also touches on the development of tools that can affect certain sensors without harming humans.

00:05:25
The Future of Observation Devices

This Chapter delves into the future of observation devices, particularly the potential for combining different sensors and technologies. Nick discusses the challenges and possibilities of integrating thermal imaging, rangefinders, and other technologies into a single multi-use device.

Keywords

Night Vision
Night vision is a technology that allows humans to see in low-light conditions. It works by amplifying existing light, making it possible to see in darkness. There are two main types of night vision: analog and digital. Analog night vision uses image intensifier tubes to amplify light, while digital night vision uses digital sensors to capture and process light.

Thermal Imaging
Thermal imaging is a technology that detects and displays infrared radiation emitted by objects. It allows humans to see heat signatures, making it possible to detect objects in darkness or through obscurants like fog or smoke. Thermal imaging is often used for military, law enforcement, and industrial applications.

High-Speed Photography
High-speed photography is a technique that captures images at very fast shutter speeds, allowing humans to see events that are too fast for the naked eye. It is often used for scientific research, engineering analysis, and entertainment purposes.

Optical Devices
Optical devices are instruments that use lenses, mirrors, and other optical components to manipulate light. They are used for a wide range of applications, including vision correction, microscopy, astronomy, and photography.

Rare Night Vision Technology
Rare night vision technology refers to older, discontinued, or specialized night vision devices that are not commonly available on the market. These devices often have unique features or historical significance, making them highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)
ITAR is a set of U.S. regulations that control the export and import of defense-related articles and services. It is designed to prevent the transfer of sensitive technology to foreign entities that could pose a threat to national security.

Germanium
Germanium is a chemical element that is used in a variety of applications, including semiconductors, infrared optics, and fiber optics. It is a relatively rare element, and its availability is often affected by geopolitical factors.

Observation Devices
Observation devices are instruments that are used to observe and gather information about the environment. They can include a variety of technologies, such as cameras, sensors, and optical devices. Observation devices are often used for military, law enforcement, and industrial applications.

Multi-Use Observation Devices
Multi-use observation devices are instruments that combine multiple technologies to provide a comprehensive view of the environment. They can include cameras, sensors, and optical devices that work together to provide a more complete picture of the situation.

Jimler
The Jimler is a multi-use observation device that combines a variety of optical paths, cameras, and sensors. It is designed for long-range observation and can be used for a variety of applications, including military, law enforcement, and industrial purposes.

Q&A

  • What sparked Nick's interest in night vision?

    Nick's move to California, where his wife works for Zeiss, led him to explore night vision devices. He became fascinated by the technology and its potential for experimentation.

  • What are the main differences between analog and digital night vision?

    Analog night vision uses image intensifier tubes to amplify light, while digital night vision uses digital sensors to capture and process light. Analog night vision generally offers better performance in low-light conditions, but digital night vision has advantages in terms of features and integration with other technologies.

  • What are some of the challenges of capturing night vision images?

    Capturing night vision images is challenging because analog night vision has a high dynamic range, making it difficult to capture the full range of light levels. Digital night vision also struggles with high dynamic range, and can be overwhelmed by bright lights.

  • What are some of the potential benefits of combining digital night vision with thermal imaging?

    Combining digital night vision with thermal imaging could provide a more comprehensive view of the environment, allowing users to see both visible and infrared light. This could be particularly useful for military, law enforcement, and industrial applications.

  • What are some of the unique features of Nick's collection of rare night vision devices?

    Nick's collection includes devices with unique features such as offset optics, wide field of view, and thermal integration. These devices represent the diversity and evolution of night vision technology.

  • What are some of the factors that influence the pricing of rare night vision devices?

    The pricing of rare night vision devices is influenced by factors such as technology, condition, rarity, and historical significance. Devices with advanced features, good condition, and limited availability tend to command higher prices.

  • What are some of the potential applications of technology that operates beyond the visible light spectrum?

    Technology that operates beyond the visible light spectrum, such as 1550 nanometer lasers, has potential applications in areas such as sensing, communication, and medical imaging. It can also be used for developing tools that can affect certain sensors without harming humans.

  • What are some of the challenges and possibilities of developing multi-use observation devices?

    Developing multi-use observation devices that combine multiple technologies presents challenges in terms of integration, size, weight, and cost. However, the potential benefits of such devices, including enhanced situational awareness and increased versatility, make them a promising area of development.

  • What are some of the potential applications of observation devices in the future?

    Observation devices have a wide range of potential applications in the future, including military, law enforcement, industrial, and even civilian uses. They could be used for surveillance, reconnaissance, search and rescue, and even personal safety.

  • What are some of the ethical considerations surrounding the development and use of observation devices?

    The development and use of observation devices raise ethical considerations related to privacy, surveillance, and the potential for misuse. It is important to ensure that these technologies are developed and used responsibly and ethically.

Show Notes

Night vision has been one of the most magical and mysterious capabilities fielded by many militaries over many decades. However, times have changed, and Gen 3 night vision is now pretty commonplace for soldiers and civilians alike. PVS-14s and PVS-31s are the Glocks of night vision devices, and yet there are many more strange and esoteric ways to see in the dark then you can possibly imagine. Nick Chen both collects and documents the capabilities of some of the world's rarest goggles and observational tool, and he shows us some in this conversation.

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Strange Night Vision Devices of the Present and Past with Nick Chen

Strange Night Vision Devices of the Present and Past with Nick Chen

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