How to see infrared light when you are a human.

A couple of days ago I was asked to do a little simple soldering task: attach a plug to provide current through an adaptor to a infrared lamp.
These are the specifications of the little lamp:

It was a matter of connecting the plus cable of the adaptor to the plus cable of the lamp – and the same goes for the minus.
But how do you test whether your lamp works? (ask a bee or a bird :-))
Because to your human eyes, the lamp looks like this, whether it is working or not:

So we had a little think – and then we remembered that camera’s do see infrared light (quite a few gamecontrollers work that way now as does your remote control.

This is an animation from that article on Wikipedia: “the infrared diode modulates at a speed corresponding to a particular function. When seen through a digital camera, the diode appears to illuminate purple light.”

animated gif to show how a remote control pulsates infrared light

First we had the webcam have a look at this floodlight:

Then our regular photocamera:

It works!

(be sure not to look too long into this light)

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