Have you ever wished that your car windshield or cell phone camera could pierce through the night and turn darkness into day? Then get ready: researchers at the University of Florida have figured out a way to create ultra lightweight, thin, and inexpensive night vision devices that use minimal amounts of electricity. The research, described in a recent edition of Advanced Materials, uses the same technology found in flat screen TVs to generate a thin film that turns visible light into infrared light.

Unlike today’s night vision glasses, which suck up thousands of volts of electricity, the University of Florida device uses thin plastic and organic LEDs to minimize consumption to under 10 volts. And while current glasses are heavy and unwieldy, the new device weighs less than half a deck of playing cards and is only a few microns thick.

These futuristic night vision devices might be ready for commercialization in as little as 18 months. Once that happens, the possibilities are endless — picture heat vision-equipped cell phones that could scan your body for a fever or windshields that can spot animals crossing the road in the dark. And of course, the military will have plenty of uses for the technology as well.

Via Discovery News

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