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Night Vision Contact Lenses?

by John Reed on June 16, 2011

This morning DT’s sister site, Kit Up!, published this interesting ‘what if’ piece about some tech that could have been used in the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. Basically, Kit Up! asks what if the operators on the raid were using the rumored-to-exist night vision contact lenses. Now, we’ve seen the QUADEYE night vision devices for some time. The devices with four-optics tubes give aircrews and special operators better peripheral vision by adding an extra tube at each eye. The wearer is basically looking out of four green-hued toilet paper rolls instead of just two.

This is still considered pretty cutting edge tech. However, Christian over at KU wonders if the SEALs on the bin Laden raid had night vision tech that was even more advanced:

I heard a rumor that the Team guys who busted bin Laden might have been wearing “cat vision” contact lenses that literally give the wearer night vision for a limited time without having to wear the bulky, heavy NVGs.

Now, all I’m finding on this is a mention from Popular Science back in 2004.

“The blink powered night vision contact lenses allow a person to see clearly in low– light environments by enhancing ambient light up to 200 per cent. These lenses use plasma technologies to eliminate the cumbersome and expensive image-intensification tubes used in convention night-vision goggles. The advantages of using the contact lenses above night-vision goggles are 1) full peripheral vision, 2) more comfortable interface, 3) a more cost-effective system, and 4) less disorientation with use.”

While one site says this is a hoax, the entry is seven years old. Seems to me this kind of thing — especially in a time of war — might be doable over that amount of time. And since the Tier 1 guys get things like stealth helicopters that no one had ever seen before, why couldn’t they have night vision contacts?

That last sentence makes a pretty good point. Anyone ever seen these in action or know more about them? If real, I’m curious to know how long they last.

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