One of the most common concerns about our project to extend human vision into the near infrared goes something like this:
If you’re going to see infrared light, won’t the heat from blood vessels in your eyes prevent you from seeing anything with any clarity at all?
In short, the answer is no. This is a common misconception created by such pop culture phenomena as the Predator film franchise and perpetuated by poorly written popsci articles which use the term “infrared” as a blanket category for any radiant energy longer than 700nm without specifying exactly what range of the radiant spectrum is being discussed.
“Infrared” light refers to radiant energy beginning at approximately 700nm (the end of the human visual spectrum) and extending into 1 million+ nm. The vast majority of the IR spectrum consists of energy we normally experience as heat — but not all of it is thermal. The near infrared, the target spectrum our project hopes to allow humans to see, falls off at approximately 1400nm. Thermal/heat energy, on the other hand, begins at approximately 10,000nm, and will not in our wildest dreams be visible to someone following the protocol we have developed.
I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions!