Picture of Homemade Infrared Goggles! For Under $10
See the world in a whole new light with these home-made Infrared Goggles! Amazing images! See the Test Results in the video at the end of this Instructable. Thanks to Bill Beaty for the idea.

Step 1: What you need:

Picture of What you need:
First pick up a pair of welding Goggles. I got these online for $7.
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czenob6 years ago
could you make these into night vision by putting a infrared led into, lets say, a maglite w/ led conversion and use both together? just saying because the flashlight would put off infrared and goggles would pick that up right?
geekdude czenob6 years ago
the theory is that we can see part of the infrared that is hidden by the rest of the ambient light in the day, if it were pitch dark we would not need the goggles only a powerfull enough infrared light, but then everyone arround could see in ir
Exactly, and that's part of my original project: using Congo Blue filters to convert an incandescent floodlamp into an "IR vision" generator in a darkened room. This doesn't work nearly as well as welding goggles and sunlight. Even so, it's really odd to see black clothing turn red-grey, and human eyes turn huge, black, and alien.

IR Goggles? IR Floodlight!
if it was real IR it could pick up IR radiation from living things and not just give colouful vision

not necessarily - IR is a HUGE range of wavelengths, without more detailed names because, well, we can't see them so they're all just called "infrared". But long-wave infrared (LIR) is mostly emitted by heated objects, and that's way further from typical "red" than near-infra-red, which includes wavelengths of light just beyond typical "red" (650nm).

Reflected IR and emitted thermal energy are not the same thing.
Not really.  Sunlight is thermal radiation.  Any object as hot as the Sun would glow the same colour as sunlight.  The light from an incandescent light bulb is the thermal radiation from its hot filament.  The light of a fire is its thermal radiation; if you look at a candle flame, the blue part is energy emitted directly by the chemical reaction, but the yellow part is the thermal radiation from the hot gases it emits.

Any object at the temperature of a human body does indeed radiate infrared light, but it's far too dim for a human eye to see.  With or without these goggles, you can't see the thermal radiation of anything unless it's well over 400 degrees Celsius (750 degrees Fahrenheit).
yea i agree people don't send out IR radiation only thermal
The IR emitted by the human body is too dim to see with the human eye.  These goggles only let you see very very bright IR, like the IR in sunlight.
Bill is absolutely correct that by heavily suppressing the so called visible spectrum from ~400 to ~750 nm the normally "swamped" NIR sensitivity of the eyes is allowed to come into play. As there is more IR coming from the Sun than visible light this effect is very strong in sunlight.
It is easy to prove that the eyes are actually recieving NIR when wearing the filters Bill pioneered. Typical organic fabric dyes are NIR transparent so if you look at most dark fabrics when wearing the filters the fabrics will appear light coloured.
I have written my name on on my black camera case with a black Sharpie felt tip pen and it is virtually invisible to the unaided eye. Yet it appears perfectly clearly when wearing IR passband filters in sunlight or under a stong incandescent light. This is because Sharpie pens (and perhaps other pens) contain a NIR opaque dye(s) wheras the black dye in the nylon camera bag is NIR transparent. This phenomena could only occur if the NIR sensitivity of the eyes was a fact.
In fact recent work has shown that a large percentage of the population even have a higher sensitivity than previously thought at the other end of the spectrum; the UV.
No - the goggles "pick up" nothing - they just filter out most visible light so that your eyes accommodate to "darkness" letting you see almost-infrared (not NIR, since NIR _is_ IR) that you always see but is normally dimmer than the light being filtered out. You need a sensor that is actually sensitive to IR to build nightvision.
czenob czenob6 years ago
like using a normal flshlight but no one else could see it
amando96 czenob6 years ago
wow maybe that could work...
You would need a super powerful ir light, try using a camera to pick it up instead
cameras work but i was thinking maybe a night-time airsoft war or paintball
yeah, i did something that would hold up to something like that, i got two old camera phones, and mounted them on some work goggles, then i got about 10 ir leds from remote controls and made a head light sort of thing
DemisJ1 month ago

Human eyes are generally considered to not be sensitive to the Infra-Red at all, so it's curious that one would be able to see much by blocking out almost all visible light (checking the suggested filters on rosco.com, they would indeed block most visible light). Either there is just enough leakage for one's eyes to respond producing weird colors, or if the human retina is in fact sensitive to any IR at all one would expect it to look like either red (tail end of the red receptors) or green (a paper in Nature recently suggested that 1050nm light can be converted to green ~500nm light in the green receptors).

Cool idea either way - using the rosco filters to produce custom filtering is smart!

taubin12 years ago
Oi I made these and they are great, I'm in the military and during training we were issued a 90 deg angle flashlight and naturally it had standard blue red and clear lenses, during an exersise we had to use a night vision monocle and naturally use of lights was strictly forbidden, I found that combining the blue and red filters I could make an ir flashlight that with the naked eye couldn't be seen after 5' so even on the gloomiest night I was able to see clearly for a great distance without anyone knowing where I was, the knowledge gained in this project was able to be used in a real life situation and helped greatly. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

I'm very happy with that positive answer, because I working in military and we need it to our solders

gonzog8 months ago

trying to find / make infrared goggles that can be used by volunteer firefighters to locate " hot spots" /active fire in structures / open fields,

does anyone know of a reasonable reliable source for these items?

do they work at night time

0ctaviu52 years ago
Do these goggles work with infrared LED's?

No, infrared LEDS are worthless with the goggles. Beware of many hoax articles with "night vision goggles" based on congo blue filters and LEDs. (I think the scammers were even selling 'em on ebay. Sheesh.) Congo Blue goggles will put you into the infrared world during BRIGHT SUNNY DAYS. Become a summertime cyborg with greatly expanded senses in the deep nanometers! But they are worthless for night vision.

These will not boost the amount of IR light coming from the source, but it will block out most of the surrounding non-IR light.

great job

caustin82 years ago
Well, it is a very good knowledge sharing, but are they going to work under the water when I wear them while swimming? I am interested in buying something extraordinary in Swim Goggles category. Your knowledge will offer a great knowledge to me in this regard. http://www.aquagear.com/swim-goggles/
_PJ0072 years ago
goggles is nice. you can use this in night using some pairs if IR LED as auxillary
0ctaviu52 years ago
Do these goggles work with infrared LED's?
Kzummo3 years ago
I made these and they are really cool! If you use only rosco, use indego for the blue filter.
idy266 years ago
Will these allow you to see an infrared diode when its on. Normally infrared is invisible, but i'm wondering if this lens will make it visible to the human eye?
me835 idy266 years ago
sorry man, but the title here is misleading. humans can't see infrared, unless the theory discussed elsewhere on this page is true, but even then...
Notbob me8356 years ago
for what you say to work idy26, the diode would have to be emitting light in the near-infrared spectrum.
idy26 Notbob6 years ago
I am pretty sure that there are Infrared-Emitting Diodes that you can buy that give off infrared light.
Notbob idy266 years ago
the light has to be in the NEAR-infrared spectrum, As LEDs that emit infrared light would have no visible effect, because the human eye cannot see truly infrared light.
Kev93 Notbob5 years ago
 Wrong. The eye CAN see IR. Just not near as well as other colors.
Notbob Kev935 years ago
Before outright telling me I am wrong, would please provide me with some scientific backing to support your side of the argument.
wjbeaty Notbob5 years ago
See the links in the original article amasci.com/amateur/irgoggl.html    In the D. Griffin paper they plot the human visual sensitivity (HVS) curve out to 1050nM.  As usual, they find no sharp division between "visible" and "infrared" wavelengths, just a peak at 505nM green, and a low frequency logarithmic rolloff of about 3 log units for every 100nM.   Most graphs of the HVS curve will tell you the same, although usually they go only out to 800nM.

Human eyes are like bandpass filters, and the farther you are from the peak, the worse their response.  To see light that's 100nM deeper into the IR, simply make it ~1000 times brighter.  Of course at some point the light must be dangerously bright in order to be visible.  (But the eye could still see it!)

I'm with Notbob on this
I'll make it easier:



As the paper shows, humans see NIR just fine. But it has to be bright, and it can't be swamped out by normal visible light.
wjbeaty idy265 years ago
These goggles don't change the light's wavelength, they only block the visible band.  Same as turning off the room lights.    You don't need goggles to see IR LEDs, just view them in a darkened room.
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