Research performed by MIT scientists has managed to create a formula that could give cars night vision.
Taking into account the number of hours we experience without daylight, night vision seems quite an attractive quality. Up to now, this ability has only been available to specific equipment, such as military or for very express professions and tasks. To encourage massive adoption, cheaper technology than what has been used to date will be necessary, and that is where graphene enters the picture. Graphene’s physical characteristics make it the ideal material for experimentation in this field.
Graphene is an extremely strong semiconductor that, in addition to conducting electricity, it is also an excellent light conductor. A team of MIT scientists, well aware of these advantages, has been working to materialise these properties into a concrete device.
Night vision goggles typically need a cryogenic cooling system, making the device bulky and difficult to change or miniaturise in size. However, the MIT scientists have developed a graphene-based chip that does not require this type of cooling system.
The result is the creation of infrared sensors that are small enough to be integrated into a smartphone or laptop. This is not the first time graphene has been proposed as an option for offering night vision properties. Researchers at the university of Michigan already developed a technique that allows them to consider future uses, such as night vision contact lenses.
The usefulness of night vision cars
If there really is a field that could benefit from using nigh vision, it is the automotive field. Countless trips are made by car without natural light and outside cities or off main roads, with the rest of roads often lacking streetlights. Car use has become so expansive that many people use their car to go to and from work every day, and during a good part of the year, those commutes are made outside daylight hours, both in the early morning and the afternoon or evening.
Additionally, many lorry drivers travel by night, either because there is less traffic, or to take full advantage of their shift. In any case, the use of night vision would be useful for those drivers that spend many nighttime hours behind the wheel.
In this playing field, the Israeli start-up BrightWay has introduced a device that makes it easier to detect any object or obstacle that appears in the vehicle’s path. This is significant, considering that the majority of accidents that occur when the sun goes down.