By Andrew Liszewski
There are some obvious downsides to being in the military, like say being shot at, but they also get to play with some of the coolest toys on Earth. Tanks and fighter jets aside, the U.S. military has apparently been using these binoculars that feature LightSpeed technology developed by a company called Torrey Pines Logic. They work just like regular binoculars, but using an infrared beam they can actually pass data (like sounds and images) back and forth between another set. Here’s a rudimentary breakdown of the technology from the Torrey Pines Logic site:
LightSpeed™ technology is based upon IR LED free-space optics (FSO) concepts. By using eye-safe LEDs for data transmission along with innovative optics, it can be incorporated into any binocular system permitting simultaneous data/voice communication and visual contact. The LightSpeed™ LED transmit beam covers the entire binocular field-of-view (FOV) so that precise pointing is unnecessary – as long as both operators can ‘see’ each other using their respective binoculars, reliable 1Mpbs data communication between two LightSpeed™ devices is supported at distances exceeding 5km. The data channel can accommodate various modes including Ethernet, video streaming and multi-channel audio data. Optical communications are the most secure means of data transmission and suffer no RF limitations; optional data encryption provides additional security.
But the president of Torrey Pines Logic feels that the technology has a use outside of the defense industry. For example, it could be used by ground crews at airports who have a hard time using radios because of interference from the aircraft. And I suppose it’s just a matter of time before this technology eventually trickles down to even regular eyeglasses.