Last week, the U.S. Army unveiled POV footage taken from its new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular (ENVG-B), and if we didn’t know better, we’d say these were promising shots from some (much-needed) patches to Cyberpunk 2077. Posted from the Lancer Brigade’s official Twitter account, the brief 45-second video showcases what looks like some pretty revolutionary optical changes to traditional notions of night vision tech. It’s detailed, it’s strangely pretty, it’s useful... and it’s unsettling as hell. Be sure to note the banger of a retrowave track playing in the background, too:
Say goodbye to green — The most obvious changes are the overall hues within the new ENVG-B’s lenses. Most associate night vision goggles with varying green tints and reflective cat eyes, but the tech showcased by the Lancer Brigade’s video has gotten rid of that entirely. The move is intentional, according to a description from the Army, and is accomplished by image-generating electrons passing through white phosphorus tubing instead of the standard green tubes.
Additionally, the 2.5-lb goggles feature a “fused thermal imager for better target recognition in degraded visual environments” like dust, smoke, and darkness. Taken altogether, the ENVG-B is designed to achieve “man-sized target recognition” with 80 percent probability at 150 meters (with an objective of 300 meters), and a 50 percent probability at 300 meters with a maximum aim of 550 meters.
“Higher resolution stereoscopic displays allow for faster target acquisition by improving separation of targets from background,” they explain. “Ultimately, the ENVG-B increases the Warfighters lethality, mobility, and situational awareness through innovative and state of the art capabilities.”
Oh yeah, in case you weren’t aware: soldiers are called “Warfighters” now. Which isn’t terrifyingly jingoistic at all.
Straight out of science-fiction — The Army’s new ENVG-B’s are the latest in a long line of futuristic war tech being developed by the world’s wealthiest military-industrial complex. Recently, Microsoft won a nearly $22 billion contract to design and implement custom HoloLens augmented reality headsets for the Army, while new “artificial skin” advancements in concealment technology inspired by camouflaging cephalopods could change covert ops forever. Meanwhile, on the non-human front, we’re apparently not far off from heavily armored killer robot tanks to plow through combat zones as new drone fleets buzz above soldiers’ (sorry, Warfighters’) heads.
Of course, the military’s new toys are as nightmarish and dystopian as they are unsurprising. Why not fund new, trippy night vision goggles straight out of Neuromancer and robot submarines when you keep getting hundreds of billions of dollars funneled into your budgets every year?