Who Invented Night Vision Goggles?

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

Who invented night vision goggles?

Whenever we hear the words “Night Vision”, a green image of the night pops into our minds. And some also refer to famous movie clips or game scenes. Most people think night vision is solely modern technology. You may be one of them. But the reality is, night vision technology was invented much earlier. Actually, the core technology was invented in 1929. You will be surprised after knowing that, but it is the fact.

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With the evolution of NV technology, various types of devices were introduced. Though they were limited to military use only, those devices become available for general people later. That’s why we can easily hunt at night and observe the beautiful night world. In this discussion, we will ponder some light on the very familiar query, “who invented night vision goggles”.

Who Invented Night Vision Goggles?

Who Invented Night Vision GogglesTo understand the invention timeline of the modern night vision goggles, we have to know first how the technology of night vision was invented and evolved. Now, this is a huge topic for discussion. We will dive into the details rather than knowing the basic and surface information only.

The Invention of Night Vision Technology

Night Vision was invented in 1929 by a Hungarian physicist, Kalman Tihanyi. He invented an infrared-sensitive electronic television that would be used in the UK for anti-aircraft defense purposes. With this very first device, the core principle of today’s advanced night vision devices was revealed.

From invention to a certain period of time, night vision devices were improved and used in the wars only. And they were accessible only to the military.

The Invention of Night Vision Goggles

For the first time in history, night vision devices were introduced by the German Army in World War II in 1939. AEG is the first company to research and develop night vision devices. Their process started in 1935 and by the mid of 1943, the German Army started testing some infrared night vision devices. Primarily introduced pieces were the devices and telescopic rangefinders. And they were mounted on the Panther tanks.

Up to this point of our discussion, you may wonder, where is the information about night vision goggles invention? Well, though the scopes were the very first-night vision devices, the invention, and development of night vision goggles started parallel. So night vision goggles were invented between 1930-1940. The first-night vision goggles were made to be used in World War II.  The PNV-57A tanker goggles were one of them.

The US was racing with German and parallel development of night vision systems was occurring in the US. The US army also uses night vision devices in World War II. The M1 and M3 were the first used infrared night sighting devices and referred to as “sniper scope” or “snooper scope”

Evolution of Night Vision Goggles

From Night Vision history, we come to know that first-night vision devices were used in World War II. All those devices are referred to as Generation 0 devices that mainly used an infrared light source. Adapting their technology, the next-generation devices were made in the 1960s during the Vietnam War and patented by the US Army. These devices are referred to as Gen 1 devices that use ambient light. They use an S-20 photocathode and require moonlight to function properly.

The Gen 2 devices were made and developed in the 1970s. they use MCP (microchannel plate) with an S-25 photocathode and perform better than earlier generations. And the latest or Gen 3 devices are being made since the 1990s. They adapted the same MCP from gen 2 but use photocathode with gallium arsenide which performs great.

Whenever the generation is upgraded, the corresponding devices like the scopes and goggles are also upgraded. Also, you can try to make your own NVGs if you want for a cheaper price.

Final Words

You see the history of night vision goggles originates from World War II. Yet most people consider night vision as a very modern time introduction. With our brief discussion on who invented the night vision goggles, hopefully, you are amazed by the facts. And if you are a true enthusiast about night vision, you will be definitely happy after knowing some of the facts.

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