Night vision is one of those technologies that captures the imagination. There's something really cool about being able to see in complete darkness.
We've all seen the camera hacks that remove IR filters, but I wanted to go a step further, and create a night vision device that was both cheap and very small.
It takes a modified action camera, and combines it with a high powered Infrared LED, and a lens attachment which serves as a viewfinder. Everything cost about $40 total.
- KitVision Splash Action Camera
- 5w 1.5v IR LED
- 40mm 10x Zoom Lens
The base of this device is the Kitvision Splash action camera, which is one of the cheapest on the market. To make it night vision capable, I disassembled the camera, unscrewed the lens, and removed the IR filter inside.
On the front of the camera is a 5w high power Infrared LED, which provides illumination for the camera in the dark. It is powered by a 1.5v AA battery, which is located on the bottom.
The rear of the camera has two magnets stuck on with sugru, and this allows you to attach the 10x zoom viewfinder lens, which when pressed up to your eye, fills your vision with the in-focus LCD screen. This screen isn't the best quality, but it's usable.
So since this is an action camera at heart, it has all the features you'd expect, like expandable micro SD storage, ability to take photos and high def videos, HDMI out, and charging through USB.
One cool feature is it can also be used as a webcam, and has a motion detection mode, so if you combined that with a motion detection IR illuminator, this could also double up as a security camera.
These shots were taken in complete darkness, using the cameras record feature. Notice the pink-ish hue that everything has.
The LED is decent for things that are relatively close, so it's good for indoors, but if I was to build this again, I'd use a stronger 10-20w LED, or one of those Infrared Torches.
I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, and especially how the size of the components fit together nicely. The ability to see in complete darkness with a device this small and cheap is cool.
What do you think? How could this be improved? Leave your feedback in the comments. Thanks for watching.