What heat vision goggles are used in the The Expendables movie during the beginning scene with the Somali pirates? Do these type of goggles actually exist? If so, what is the make and model?

  • Are you asking about the actual brand? Feb 3, 2014 at 3:07
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    I posted this on meta referring to the quality of my question: > I asked a question that marked as trivial. I wanted to know if these kinds of goggles actually existed. In all my experience, they do not. After I did some Googling, I came across a few bad Ask Yahoo! Answers pages. I figured that I could get a higher quality response from movies. If I worded the question incorrectly, could somebody assist me in wording it better...
    – kzh
    Feb 3, 2014 at 15:21
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    The question looks much better now. I've voted to reopen. Feb 3, 2014 at 15:58
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    I moved my meta "answer" to an actual question: meta.movies.stackexchange.com/q/1168/5533
    – kzh
    Feb 4, 2014 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


They were "Gibberish Goggles", available from absolutely nowhere.

The goggles were intended to be Thermal, but the logic that sustains them falls apart under the weight of their own inconsistency (much like the film itself!)

Many films have played with their representation of 'Heat Vision', but none fail so spectacularly as The Expendables...

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'Thermal Vision' picks out heat signatures, rendering them as Hotspot's (like the POV in the expendables).

However, when the lights are 'switched on' in the Movie, it seems to blind Barney Ross: The problem being, this would only happen if they were nightvision goggles, as light itself has no effect on the infrared spectrum:

Thermal infrared looks exactly the same with high light exposure or darkness as modern digital sensors are looking at the invisible infra-red energy. I suspect when they originally wrote the script and shot the scenes they intended it to be that greenish amplified moonlight night-vision, but Sylvester Stallone and the special effects department figured it would look cooler as thermal imaging in post-production, the heck with the science.


  • Light sources can produce heat, e.g. the good old incandescent light bulb is infamously known to produce mostly heat (~ 5% light, 95% heat). - And thermal/infrared night vision googles can even be bought as toys. - But I agree with you, 'Heat Vision' in movies is often portrayed wrong.
    – Oliver_C
    Feb 3, 2014 at 13:09
  • P.S.: Unless the snapshots and the quote were made by you, you should disclose your source(s).
    – Oliver_C
    Feb 3, 2014 at 13:12
  • @Oliver_C, couple of things! it is the filament of the Bulb that produces heat, not the light spectrum itself! and whereas cheap nightvision can be bought as toys, thermal vision is a different technology entirely.. heat and light operate on different (and contradictory) spectrum, so its impossible to have a device that shows both. I've added sources, and they explain this point aswell! Feb 3, 2014 at 13:18
  • Your answer, at least to me, seemed to imply that turning on lights would generally not be noticable by 'heat vision'. I just wanted to point out that an incandescent light source would be visible through heat vision goggles. - Getting blinded by a light bulb that has just been turned on is of course a different matter.
    – Oliver_C
    Feb 3, 2014 at 14:54
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    I'm not sure what you mean by contradictory spectrum. - Sensors don't have to be tuned to one singluar wavelength. It's no problem at all to have a device detect a wide range of wavelengths, from UV to visible light to IR. - I merely mentioned infrared night vision goggles because 'night vision' and 'infrared/heat vision' aren't mutually exclusive. There are night vision googles that achieve night vision by using infrared light.
    – Oliver_C
    Feb 3, 2014 at 14:58

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