Field of view requirements for night vision devices – A review of empirical research


  1. Glaholt, M.G.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Night vision devices (NVDs) are widely employed by military and law enforcement to facilitate human vision when ambient light levels are low. One of the potential limitations to NVDs is that they present a relatively narrow field of view (FOV) compared to the user’s natural field of view. A longstanding engineering problem surrounds the performance compromise that occurs when FOV is restricted in NVDs and of particular interest for designers of NVDs is the minimum FOV required for normal performance. However, FOV requirements for NVD devices are expected to differ depending on the task that is performed by the user. The present paper provides a review of empirical research to date investigating FOV requirements for viewing tasks that are relevant to dismounted soldiers and vehicle operators. Though the empirical literature on FOV requirements for NVD-related tasks was found to be sparse, we were able to obtain tentative lower bounds on FOV requirements for NVDs. An all-purpose NVD system based on these lower bounds would be binocular and have a FOV of at least 150° horizontal x 90° vertical. However, there are important caveats for these conclusions and the lower bound values reported here must be interpreted with caution. Accordingly, further research in this domain is recommended.

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Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2016-R032 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jul 2016
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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