WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded 10 teams more than $18 million total in first-round contracts for a program aimed at making night vision glasses less bulky and more powerful.

The U.S. agency announced the Enhanced Night Vision in Eyeglass Form program last year, calling on industry and academia to submit proposals in two technical tracks. The first focuses on developing prototypes to reduce the size of the eyepieces and intensifiers on current night vision glasses. The second explores new methods for converting infrared light reflected into visible images.

The ENVision program is meant to leverage a decade’s worth of investment in night vision technology, including new materials and processes. The technology, DARPA said, could eliminate the need for bulky intensifiers that can cause neck injuries for users and result in goggles the size and weight of typical eyeglasses.

DARPA awarded the Phase 1 contracts in October and November, announcing them publicly in a Jan. 12 news release. The period of performance extends into 2023, at which time the agency will consider options for Phase 2 awards, spokesman Eric Butterbaugh told C4ISRNET.

For the first technology track, DARPA selected:

  • Raytheon Technologies Research Center
  • SRI International
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Washington
  • Physical Sciences Inc.

To tackle the second technical focus area, DARPA chose:

  • Raytheon BBN
  • Stanford University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Pennsylvania.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.