The history, status, and recent progress in the middle and long wavelength Hg1-xCdxTe infrared detectors operating at near room temperatures are reviewed. Thermal generation of charge carriers in narrow gap semiconductor is a major limitation or sensitivity. Cooling is a straightforward way to suppress thermal generation of charge carriers and reduce related noise. However, at the same time, cooling requirements make infrared systems bulky, heavy, and inconvenient in use. A number of concepts to improve performance of photodetectors operating at near room temperatures have been proposed and implemented. Recent considerations of the fundamental detector mechanisms suggest that near perfect detection can be achieved without the need for cryogenic cooling. This paper, to a large degree, is based on the research, development, and commercialization of uncooled HgCdTe detectors in Poland. The devices have been based on 3D-variable band gap and doping level structures that integrate optical, detection and electric functions in a monolithic chip. The device architecture is optimized for the best compromise between requirements of high quantum efficiency, efficient and fast collection of photogenerated charge carriers, minimized thermal generation, reduced parasitic impedances, wide linear range, wide acceptance angles and other device features. Recent refinements in the devices design and technology have lead to sensitivities close to the background radiation noise limit, extension of useful spectral range to > 16 µm wavelength and picosecond range response times. The devices have found numerous applications in various optoelectronic systems. Among them there are fast scan FTIR spectrometers developed under MEMFIS project.