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Future Tech: OLED Breakthrough Could Provide Cheap Night Vision For Cars

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New 7-series to feature high-tech night vision system

New 7-series to feature high-tech night vision system

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Conventional night vision image, via David Kitson, Creative Commons 3.0

Conventional night vision image, via David Kitson, Creative Commons 3.0

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Night vision systems are already available in the higher-end luxury sedans from companies like Toyota, Volvo, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but it's expensive technology that few drivers can afford. There are currently aftermarket night-vision systems available as well, such as the FLIR PathFindIR, but at $4,000 for the system without a display, it's a pricey upgrade. That may all change soon, as Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded scientists at the University of Florida have developed a cheap way to turn any infrared light into visible light with a thin film.

The film is based on the same technology in the latest Organic LED (OLED) TV and phone displays, and its thinness could make it suitable for use in things like automobile windshields. That in itself could be a huge breakthrough, enabling the overlay of objects and obstacles that would otherwise be invisible in the dark directly onto the driver's field of vision--a huge benefit to safety.

Instead of using the heavy, bulky vacuum tubes found in conventional night-vision devices, the new thin-film system uses layers of OLEDs to receive and convert infrared light into the visible spectrum. It runs on much lower voltages--just three to five volts--making it more energy-efficient as well. The result is a monochromatic green-tinted view of the area in front of it.

So far they've only managed to make a tiny 1-square-centimeter example, but due to the OLED technology underpinning it, it should be scalable to much larger sizes--and the scientists behind the discovery think they can do it within 18 months. Get ready for the night-vision revolution.

[Discovery News]

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Comments (6)
  1. A new thinfilm technology sees infra-red light and displays it using OLEDs. Coating your spectacles, it could give you Predator-style night-vision
     
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  2. Toyota and Volvo does not offer Night Vision at all (only on concepts), and Mercedes and BMW just started offering it in 2006, but Cadillac offered Night Vision 10 years ago on the 2000 DTS:
    theautochannel.com :
    "on the DTS, and options include a better-than-average navigation system and the "Night Vision" system, which features the first civilian use of infrared thermal-imaging technology to allow the driver to better see pedestrians and animals along the road at night.... A DTS with Night Vision has been my transportation for the past week. It has been an interesting week, with more night driving than usual.... Night Vision really does work."
    If the author can't bother to get their facts straight I can't be bothered to read their article. Author completely left out the Cadillac which is plain wrong considering they were one of the first to offer it and it showed up in many popular reviews. Instead, they gave all the credit to German and Asian manufactures for introducing systems either many years later or offering concept cars with night vision
     
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  3. Actually, Toyota does offer night vision on some Japanese-market vehicles, and has for some time now. Volvo's is still conceptual, but should debut on production cars soon (pedestrian detection is already coming to the S60).
    Good catch on Cadillac, it wasn't excluded out of malice--there's simply a lot of tech to keep up with. And Cadillac hasn't had night vision on its cars since 2004, so while they did innovate, they didn't keep up with it.
     
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  4. I want this on my motorcycle helmet, STAT.
     
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  5. There is nothing called a free lunch is this world. If anything needed to be resolved then initiated need a support to be sorted out.
    ===============================================
    Cheap Car Direct
     
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  6. please check www.alvis-tech.com. The company offer HUD for nighvision system
     
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