Current developments in head mounted night vision systems involve the use of various video cameras and displays. Many development efforts are aimed at generating digital video images of different parts of the EM spectrum and fusing this information into a single real time video image for the user. Image intensified video cameras are one of the camera types that are undergoing continuing development to serve this purpose. The topic of this paper is a discussion of the electronic architectures that may be used in designing such cameras. This camera development area has highlighted the importance of the downstream electronics that receives and processes the "raw" digital video signal coming from the miniature camera. Some of the significant video system architecture decisions bear on the partitioning of these downstream video processing functions throughout the overall vision system in which the camera resides. The rapidly evolving capabilities of the digital video electronic hardware that provides the video processing functions offer a wide choice of system architectures for video system design. In this paper the camera and its associated digital processing functions are discussed as an integrated camera system.
Image intensified video cameras of the type being developed for man- portable tactical use are defined. Methods for test and evaluation of these cameras are reviewed. Test data from several representative cameras are presented and discussed for the purpose of improving modeling and test capabilities. Suggestions for future evaluation are presented.
The advanced image intensification system (AI2/ is an advanced technology demonstrator that incorporates several new improvements into a direct view night vision device. An electroluminescent display (ELD) panel was integrated into the AI2 monocular. This development placed a transparent ELD panel in contact with the output image plane of the intensifier such that the intensified image and the video image are viewed simultaneously. Additionally, the device field of view was increased to 60 degrees from the 40 degrees that is typical for presently fielded night vision devices. The incorporation of a display and an increased field of view into a night vision monocular resulted in a new optomechanical architecture that was driven by the cumulative requirements of this program. Several advancements were also incorporated into the intensifier assembly. An automatic photocathode gating scheme was developed and proven in this effort. A user adjustable variable intensifier gain was also incorporated into this system. Test data verifying the basic feasibility of the AI2 design was taken and user evaluations (infantry and aviation) have been conducted.