Through What Objects Can Night Vision See?

Night vision devices work on the principle of capturing the radiations which are invisible by the human eye. The enhanced spectral range allows the viewers to see the objects in the darkness. Night vision is now becoming necessary due to the usage of the technology in the betterment of human life. The usage of night vision cameras for surveillance purposes has increased its importance. People want to know more about the working, efficacy, and mechanism of night vision.

Many people have questions in their mind related to the visionary characteristics of the night vision devices. It is important to know through which objects night vision can see. The answer to this question is ‘yes’, night vision devices can see through a glass, walls, smoke, darkness, curtains, fog, and tinted windows. Night vision cannot see through absolute darkness but absolute darkness is very rare in our surrounding.   

In this article, I will discuss whether the night vision devices can see through the objects mentioned above. Let us start our discussion: –

Night Vision through Glass

Yes, a night vision camera can see through glass. In the surveillance of a building or home, night vision cameras are places indoor and they see through the glass. Many people have this question in their mind while deploying a night vision camera indoor. You need to take some necessary measures for getting the effective results if your night vision device (NVD) sees through the glass. You need to turn off the IR and status lights for the mitigation of window reflection. It will help you to see through the glass or glass window screen clearly.

Night Vision through Walls

The NVDs work on the principle of capturing the infrared and ultraviolet rays and then amplifying them to show object in the darkness. In most of the cases, the answer to this question is ‘no’ as most of the walls of the buildings are thick enough to make insulation towards the infrared rays. In some cases, in which the walls are thin and they allow the infrared rays to pass, the NVDs can see through the walls. The police department of the US is researching the usage of NVDs for looking through the walls during their search operations. The military technologists are also working in this field and they are getting good results.

Night Vision through Smoke

Yes, the NVDs can see through the smoke. The wavelength of the IR rays is much longer than the wavelength of the visible light. The NVDS captures the rays coming through the smoke and make the images which could not be seen in the normal circumstances. Police and other agencies use the night vision devices during their operations in the smoky areas. It is good to keep your night vision goggles with you when you go towards the areas where the chances of rain, fog, smoke, and blowing sand are higher.

Night Vision through Complete Darkness

The answer to the question, whether night vision can see through the darkness, is ‘yes’. But, if there is no light, absolute darkness, then the NVDs would not be able to see the objects. Darkness means you cannot see anything with the naked eye while the absolute darkness means if there is no light at all. You must have to remember the difference in your mind before making any perception about the visionary characteristics of the NVDs. Absolute darkness is very rare to be achieved as most of the objects in our surrounding are above absolute zero body temperature.

Night Vision through Curtains

Can night vision see through curtains? The answer is ‘yes’, NVDs can see through the curtains. There are some limitations in this regard. The NVDs can only see if the infrared rays pass through the curtains. If someone is standing far away from the curtain then the NVDs would not be able to see the person. Many people have a question in their mind that whether the NVDs identify a person behind a curtain. The NVDs cannot identify a person as their resolution power is quite low. So, you can see through the curtains but it will be hard to get clear pictures. For security purposes, it is good to see through a night vision device. It will help you to identify if someone wrong is happening behind the curtains.

Can Night Vision See Infrared

The main purpose of the night vision devices is to capture the available light including infrared rays. The mechanism of image enhancement is used for the capturing and processing of the images in the night vision devices. The NVDs capture the available light and amplify it so that we can see what is going on in the darkness. Infrared rays are captured by the NVDs during its working.

Night Vision through Fog

The NVDs can see through the fog. The reason behind the visibility of the objects in the fog by the NVDs is their working principle. The wavelength of the IR and UV rays is longer than the visible light. NVDs can capture those rays and allows you to see through the fog. You will not get the clear pictures but you will be able to see the object up to some extent. In modern NVDs, visibility has been quite improved when you use the NVDs in the fog. Some night vision goggles are specially designed for the purpose of seeing through the fog and smoke. If you are interested in using the night vision for seeing through fog then you need to use those goggles.

Night Vision through Tinted Windows

The security cameras can see through the tinted windows of the vehicles. The energy waves can easily transmit through the tinted glass and it allows the security camera to capture the energy wave and process the image. So, you must have to be careful while driving a vehicle with tinted glasses on. You cannot be viewed the people on the roadside but you can be viewed by the security cameras mounted on the roadsides. The wavelength of the energy waves is much higher than the visible light and it can be captured from a larger distance as well. The IR cameras would not be able to see through the tinted windows in normal circumstances. Some NVDs are specially designed to see through the tinted windows.


Night vision has made it possible for us to see what we could not see in the past. We can now see through the glass, walls, curtains, and even tinted glasses. Is our privacy at risk if the night vision devices keep on improving? This is the main question at the moment. The security, surveillance, and other such purposes have made it possible to do what was thought to be impossible a few decades back. There are some positive and some negative aspects of the night vision. Night vision is banned in Germany due to its negative aspects. In the United States, night vision devices are not banned to be sold and people can use them. The NVDs cannot see in absolute darkness but in our surrounding, most of the objects are above absolute temperature and we can see them easily with the aid of an NVD.

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