Night Vision Goggles for Kids

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

GeekDad John Baichtal notes that Jakks Pacific has introduced true Night Vision Goggles for Kids for just $80:

Needless to say, the goggles were designed to present a delightfully Borg-like appearance, however, a lot of the look is cosmetic. Here’s how it’s set up. There are two eyepieces, one covered in LEDs and the other unadorned. Positioned over the forehead is a big central sphere I call a “bulb” which contains the camera and is surrounded by more LEDs. I’m not sure why this bulb had to be so prominent, maybe to stay with the cyclopean theme of the product line. The 5-AA battery pack ends up at the back of the head.

As mentioned, the goggles work by projecting IR light. There are two levels of brightness, the lower uses the LEDs on the right eyepiece, the higher uses the LEDs on the central bulb. Interestingly, the latter are so powerful that when emitting, you can see a dull red glow. (As I said, to the naked eye the IR LEDs don’t normally emit visible light, but digital cameras are able to sense the infrared light. That’s what you see in the photo.)

The camera feeds to a tiny (0.5″x0.75″) LCD screen positioned in front of the right eye. Since there is only one screen you get only monocular vision, if it matters. The smallness of the screen doesn’t really hurt because it’s right in front of the eye. One concern I had was the feasibility of using the goggles with my big nerd glasses. It turned out to be a non-issue, as the miniature screen falls well within my close-in vision. However, someone relying on reading glasses may find themselves unable to see much of anything. As far as the left eyepiece, it is merely cosmetic, and flips up to allow the user to look through a hole.

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