A study published in Nano Letters has led to the creation of a graphene chip that could be used to integrate night vision into cellphones and laptops, according to Engadget. This finding is a huge improvement over current night vision technologies that utilize cryogenic cooling, which are typically more expensive and less efficient.
In addition to its potential for night vision goggles, the unique graphene chip also possesses potential for integration into infrared screens, according to Popular Science.
"In the future, we can have infrared detectors integrated in every cellphone and every laptop. That means that in the future, you can control them just by waving your hand in front of them," said one of the study's authors.
Graphene has long been known for its ability to detect infrared due to the unique way that it conducts electricity. The researchers combined graphene with silicon-based devices called MEMS and then suspended the chip over an air pocket. This suspension meant that the chip could pick up any incoming heat, while at the same time eliminating the need for a cooling mechanism, one of the reasons that other night vision devices are so bulky.
In addition to cellphone and laptop integration, the new technology could also be used to create night vision contact lenses and car windshields, according to TechWorm.
"Testing showed [the new sensor] could be used to detect a person's heat signature at room temperature without cryogenic cooling," said the American Chemical Society (ACS). "In the future, advances could make the device even more versatile."