Night-vision goggles have become a staple of military operations because they let soldiers see almost as well in darkness as they do in light. But a new device — the Clip-On Thermal Imager or COTI — improves on vision even during the day. The 5.8 oz., battery-operated COTI gives the wearer Predator-style heat vision and can be attached to existing night-vision or other goggles. Here, a guide to this innovation:
How does the COTI device work?
By sensing different temperatures in the infrared end of the spectrum, then converting that information to a visible image, COTI expands the range of what a person can see. It can detect warmth through smoke, dense trees or shrubbery, fog, rain, or pitch-black night.
How will COTIs help soldiers?
Besides detecting otherwise-invisible enemy soldiers from a distance of hundreds of feet, COTIs can tell if the ground has been recently disturbed, which will allow a user to find buried explosive devices. And because people leave behind "residual heat" when they leave a chair or a vehicle, COTIs can tell if a room or a car has been recently occupied.
Will they have non-military uses?
Yes. COTIs can help firefighters find heat sources or unconscious persons in smoke-filled buildings. They can aid in search-and-rescue missions by the Coast Guard or other rescue personnel. And because the COTIs are able to detect foot- and handprints invisible to the naked eye, they can be useful in law enforcement, too.