An important, but largely invisible, area of polymer optics involves sensing the motion of warm objects. It can be further subdivided into optics for security, for energy conservation, and for convenience; the area has become known as optics for the passive infrared. The passive infrared is generally known as the 8 to 14 μm region of the optical spectrum. The region’s roots are in the traditional infrared technology of many decades ago; there is a coincident atmospheric window, although that has little relevance to many short-range applications relevant to polymer optics. Regrettably, there is no polymer material ideally suited to the passive infrared, but one material is generally superior to other candidates. The inadequacy of this material makes the Fresnel lens important. Polymer optics for the passive infrared were first introduced in the 1970s. Patents from that period will be shown, as well as early examples. The unfamiliar names of the pioneering companies and their technical leaders will be mentioned. The 1980s and 90s brought a new and improved lens type, and rapid growth. Pigments for visible-light appearance and other reasons were introduced; one was a spectacular failure. Recent advances include faster lenses, a new groove structure, additional pigments, and lens-mirror combinations. New sensor types are also being introduced. Finally, some unique and inventive applications will be discussed.