IBM may be planning to bring night vision technology to modern tech-powered eyewear like Google Glass. It has filed a patent for a device which uses red light to allow people to see in low light conditions (sounds like its inspired by Mr India!). International Business Times(UK) reported this development for the first time.
However, the patented device does not claim to impart true night vision capabilities. It rather makes the human eye focus on high contrast images in low light by the use of red light.
Working of device
The device, patented by IBM, consists of a sensor and “a comparator device”. These can detect and contrast light intensity. When these devices detect light intensity going below a certain level, two projectors in front of each eye can bathe both eyes in red light.
As a result of this, a user can detect high contrast images in his surroundings and can easily make out various objects. This greatly enhances visibility at night or in other low-light conditions.
Science behind the tech
The device is based upon the basic working of a human eye in dark. A human eye adjusts itself automatically in conditions with low light. It does so with the help of photo-receptors called rod cells which adapt themselves according to light.
However, when these low light conditions or a dark environment are enveloped with a red tinge, these rod cells can detect high contrast images in the surroundings. This is similar to the functioning of dark rooms in photography. Airline pilots also sometimes use red-tinted glasses to improve their visibility in low light conditions.
No issues of Binocular rivalry and phoria as in Google Glass
The patent claims that IBM device can potentially avoid situations which are often faced by Google Glass users.
The wearer of current glasses such as Google Glass is subject to the risk of a phenomena referred to as binocular rivalry and phoria: a latent deviation or misalignment of the eyes that appears when both eyes are no longer looking at the same object,
read the patent.
It claims that IBM device projects red light into the eyes from two different sources. This can avoid the above-mentioned side effects of using a Google Glass.
The company has not disclosed any plans of launching such a device yet. It remains to be seen whether this patent is just for research sake or the company has bigger plans to implement it into a commercial product.