Instructables

Weekly Project: Build Your Own X-Ray Vision Camera

You've seen them in the back of magazines--heck, probably Popular Science--all your life: the crazy swirling paper X-ray specs, with the campy '50s pervert looking at the bloomers of a shocked gal. While we don't support such nefarious uses, you can make your own working X-ray camera, just by modifying a CVS Disposable. It won't give you Superman vision, but you should be able to see through one or two layers of paper and fabric (again, behave!) in the right light. Here's the catch: The key is in a hard-to-find X-ray conversion material called a beryllium window. PopSci got its sample from NASA during a visit to the Goddard Space Flight Center a few years ago, as it is sometimes used in satellites to block out cosmic X rays that might distort digital communications. The filter converts X rays into visible light by using an optical down conversion process to lower the energy of the photons. This will prevent your digital "film" from being overexposed by too many different wavelengths. And though it's technically not illegal, you can't buy the material from any reputable store. (We also wouldn't recommend bringing the stuff with you on your next trip to North Korea.) If you do manage to track down a small piece, here's how to mod your camera and give it superpowers.

 
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Step 1: Building the X-Ray Vision Camera


Time: A Couple of Afternoons
Cost: Over $18
Difficulty: Hard

Parts List


  • CVS Disposable Digital Camera (CVS Pharmacy; $18.00)
  • X-Ray Beryllium Material (Google It)
  • Wire, solder, glue, diffraction pattern sample (i.e., your hand)

Step 2: Rip it a New One; Disassemble the Camera

Remove the case back panel from the CVS disposable digital camera. Locate the batteries and take them out of the camera. Carefully lift the camera's circuit board out, exposing the lens/shutter assembly. Remove this assembly for gaining access to the CMOS sensor.

NOTE: Do not touch the flash capacitor. This component can maintain a strong and painful charge for extended periods of time. Use extreme caution when opening this camera and use protective gear, including rubber gloves, rubber-soled shoes and rubber-handled tools.

ElvenChild1 year ago
Maybe It's just my inexplicable talent and ability to unintentionally hurt myself, but step 3 looked like it said "Step 3: Scalpel; Cut Your Finger".
Here is a cheaper way to get true X-Ray:
http://www.houseoftheunusual.com/stock/bestsellers/page6.html
Buy the real X-ray glasses! They will do the job at a very low price...
use code# ind77 it will give you future discounts.
这个是假的 只是伪彩图像而已
This is fake it is pseudo-color image
Light_Lab3 years ago
Some consideration must be given to the fact that this Instructable was released to coincide with April the 1st. I am sure Popsci was just making a joke.
(1) Beryllium is used as an X-ray window material as it passes X-rays but not visible light. It is readily available from X-Ray equipment suppliers. Without a special phosphor layer it could not act as a down converter.
(2) You also need a strong source of X-Rays; Solar X-rays aren't enough. Think about if X-Rays of any strength were coming from the sun it would make any form of photography virtually impossible.
(3) The lenses of a digital camera cannot focus X-rays. In fact X-rays are usually made as contact prints to avoid the problems of focus.
(4) The image is obviously faked, the bones are in the wrong places, the ring on the finger would appear black in an X-ray. I believe he deliberately wore it as a clue for the joke.
A good joke, have a chuckle and move on.
BTW The technique that ELF et.al. is referring too is using infra red or near infra red. This is an excellent area to experiment in with a converted digital camera. Despite all the rumors only a certain range of synthetic fabrics are completely transparent to IR. Nevertheless many food colorings eg cola drinks, soy sauce etc are transparent to IR as are many plastic coloring agents. It is also excellent for penetrating smoke and other aerosols.
ELF7 years ago
Hah! That's a normal IR block filter, replace it with a piece of (over-)exposed color film, and you got a camera that can see through some things like thin fabrics, like bathing suits (Making you a creep if you tried it) but also through coke (the brown liquid stuff you know :P) some cheap sunglasses, skin to some extend (your bloodveins will "pop out" more viewed through the camera), and will also block the light from LCD monitors, because they don't emit any IR light, so it will look like it's turned off... Anyway, try that instead :)
techno guy ELF3 years ago
Where do you get an overexposed piece of color film.
ELF techno guy3 years ago
Any smaller photo store where they develop film.
It's usually a wasteproduct from the start and end of a roll of film.
Kaiven ELF6 years ago
over exposed... like what? a diposable camera's film left in the sun?
just go find some old film negatives, usually before the roll of pictures, there's about four sections of all black.
if i used a camera and i got the negatives i can use those? could i just look through them or would it have to be a camera
It has to be in a camera. If only it were that easy. I wouldn't ruin a good camera if i were you. I put it into an old eyetoy (ps2 webcam-type thing) that i use as a webcam for my computer and it worked great. It's actually quite fun to mess around.
but that would still be a web cam. can i get a disposable camera and use that or does it have to be night vision (i saw some youtube videos)?
I guess there might be some digital disposable cameras that you could use, but i don't think the disposable film ones will work like you're thinking.
do the negatives need to be on a camera lens? and can i just take pictures, develop negatives, and use those?
Yep. The next time you go to develop pictures, just take the darkest part of the film (negative) and find the sections where no pictures were( it should be extremely dark in that area) and use that. That's what i did for my eyetoy.
ORLY?! someone finally tells me what i wannt to know! xD Thank you
no problem. i have already done this with one of my eyetoy cameras and it works great.
ELF Kaiven6 years ago
Yea, for like, a second or something :P Till it's "black", won't more than a second or two :)
Kaiven ELF6 years ago
oh...okay thanks
ELF Kaiven6 years ago
You're welcome :) Remember, these films are very photosensitive. On a sunny day you might only expose it for like 1/125 to 1/500 of a second.. ;)
ummm... is this dangerous? or is it just x-rays already present in the enviornment that you are viewing with?
Actually, I believe it is supposed to be UNEXPOSED, but DEVELOPED color SLIDE film. And two pieces are recommended.
much rather use that... speaking that berillium can be harmful to your health
See Link
ELF RetroPlayer6 years ago
No, I'm pretty sure that it's suppose to be exposed, and normal negative film... Maybe they yield the same results :)
Could I try just looking through the exposed/over-exposed film, instead of taking apart the camera and then replacing the filter?
Your eye can't see IR (or at least not very much) so the effect would be minimal at best
So that means I do have to take apart the camera and replace the filter?
Yes, unless you do it with a cam with "night vision" (which is the exact same function, with a small IR LED on the front of the camera). That is also the reason why I only did it to a cheap webcam :)
NozeDive ELF6 years ago
It's true. I used the exposed film method on a digital camera that I removed the IR blocking glass from. It works pretty well. P.S., it may be a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) sensor. They're used frequently, as well as CMOS (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) P.P.S. About those capacitors... I made a pretty painful Taser style stun gun out of a disposable camera back in 2002. They hurt, but other than that, capacitors are okay to deal with. They taste great.
Derin NozeDive5 years ago
a ccd is $130
NozeDive Derin5 years ago
You can get new, in the box, web-cam style cameras that use CCDs from eBay for about five dollars a piece. I bought three, so I could use two normally, and modify the third one. I also got a used digital camera (also CCD) with an LCD screen for about $30. That way, once I modify that one, I can have night vision on the go. »Tøny
Derin NozeDive5 years ago
I was saying the CCD unit for a sony handycam costs $130(atleast thats what the repair guy told me)
NozeDive Derin5 years ago
That's expensive. I didn't know that those components cost so much separately. But, then again, Sony has some pretty impressive night vision cameras. Thanks for the info! :-)
the night feature on sony camera really is just something that they use to jack up the price.
Derin NozeDive5 years ago
I think so,it is more than half the price of the camera itself!Yea,Sony makes a couple good camcorders but mine has TWO FAILS.both the cassette head AND the CCD unit is damaged
the photoflash is not good to "tatse" and the other ones doint "taste"good SO BE QUIET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(removed by author or community request)
Well it doesn't do the same as this project is *suppose* to do (I hope you know that this is a prank) but it can change the spectrum the camera can "see". And yes, there are no dangerous materials in any camera I've taken apart, so it would be safe (at least for you, not for the camera ;) )
Overexposed film, well... Go down to your local camera shop and ask for the waste from the developement. You should be able to get a "frame" (you know, normal camera film is a long strip with a "window" or "frame" for each shot) that is entirely black, or almost entirely black, and it's important that it's from color film, because I've read that B&W film blocks the IR light.
You then have to insert a small piece of this film into your camera, replacing the IR blocking filter, which is often located just above the CCD.
How would I go about "over" exposing film? Or can I just use film that has been used that I tore out of an old one-time use camera?
It's just exposed film with no picture on it :) So completely black So yes, you can use that from the one itme camera
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