A REVOLUTIONARY night-vision system developed for the Dutch military makes night-time video images look as clear and colourful as those shot in broad
The detectors in night-vision cameras only pick up a limited range of wavelengths, so do not give enough information to generate a colour image, while
thermal imaging cameras pick up no colour information at all. In both systems, the image is displayed in various intensities of green or grey, the
colours people find easiest to see.
TNO's new system works by sampling the colours in daytime scenes of the same kind as are being viewed, and mapping them onto the night-vision
The system selects random pixels from the daytime image to obtain a sample of the range of colours in a typical environment. So a pastoral scene would
have browns from the trees, greens from the grass, vegetation and tree canopies, and blues for the sky.
In conventional night-vision equipment these colours appear in monochrome shades. The new system maps these shades onto their colour equivalents,
assigning say a light grey to the blue of the sky, or a deep, dark grey to the brown of tree trunks. When the system is later used to view a target
scene at night, the mapping is reversed, replacing monochrome pixels in the night image with the closest matching colour from the sample image.
Toet envisages that night-vision goggles using the technology will have a range of settings - rural, urban, sea or desert, for example - each with its
own mapping. A more advanced system could use GPS positioning data to choose colours based on the specific location where the system is being used.
The system's inventors hope it will improve soldiers' reaction times and reduce the fatigue that develops from scrutinising night images.
Preliminary tests on 12 subjects have shown the colour-enhanced images radically improve people's ability to recognise objects.
The technology is being developed into a prototype for night-time helicopter manoeuvres.
My opinion : at first I was enthusiastic (colorfull nightvision wow!), but that 3rd image doesn't look so great, besides the whole process looks too
complicated. However for pilots it may be good. we will see how it will end. Your opinions?