This Guy Built a Real Version of the Thermal Vision Helmet from 'Predator'

Philip Ellis
Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images
Photo credit: Sunset Boulevard - Getty Images

From Men's Health

There are few movie monsters as iconic and instantly recognizable as the Predator, from its striking signature mask, to the chilling clicking sound it makes as it stalks its quarry. So for his latest project, it makes sense that YouTube's Hacksmith (aka James Hobson) wants to use the latest technology to improve on his previous attempts to create a fully functional replica of the Predator costume — complete with a shoulder-mounted laser cannon.

To mimic the Predator's heat-based vision, Hobson uses a digital camera that has been modified with a filter so that the only light it picks up is shortwave infrared. Then, to hew as closely to the visuals of the movie, he adds a FLIR thermal imaging sensor capable of measuring heat signatures. (These are currently being used to scan people for high body temperature during the pandemic.)

Once the cameras are ready, they are mounted behind a visor in a motorcycle helmet which has been kitted out to look like the Predator's headpiece. The Hacksmith's team even program a button to mimic the signature clicking sound that the Predator makes. Then they 3D-print a curved, shoulder-shaped mount for the laser.

The entire process of designing, manufacturing and testing the helmet and laser is detailed in the video, ahead of Hobson's next challenge – pitting his team of engineers against the Predator overnight in the woods.

The Predator helmet is only the latest in Hobson's ever-growing repertoire of real life versions of famous movie weapons. He has engineered working prototypes of Kylo Ren's lightsaber from the most recent Star Wars trilogy and Wolverine's claws from the X-Men series, not to mention a 110-pound replica of Thor's mighty hammer Mjolnir from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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