The quest for the ultimate lighting solution for those dreaded midnight walks to the amenities block or drop toilet is one that has long been occupying the thoughts of some of the greatest minds in the world.
Working on the assumption that the wary grey nomad would want to keep his or her hands free for possible toilet roll handling or spider swatting duties, inventors have been focussing their attentions of late on torches that don’t need to be held. But it hasn’t been easy. While once hailed as the greatest thing since jaffle irons for sliced bread, the headlamp has been having a rough ride of late.
Some campers have slammed the concept as limiting visibility to only the area in which the head is facing, and for ‘blinding’ poor travelling companions when they are looked at. While the arrival of shoe torches was certainly a triumph of ingenuity, they quickly ran into practical difficulties as wearers struggled to see the places they wanted to see for more than a fleeting moment … unless they stopped walking and performed an unseemly one-legged balancing act.
But in the never-say-die spirit that has fired human invention since the dawn of time, Zyntony has now unveiled its ‘Ra’ wearable torch. It’s basically five Cree LEDs which are connected by flexible circuitry sandwiched between two strips of flexible spring steel.
The really clever bit is the neodymium magnets which enable it to be fixed to clothing when it is lined up with a corresponding magnetic backer strip on the other side. Wearing this strip of LEDs – that can deliver up to 800 lumens of light with three selectable beam patterns – on a shirt or jacket is far less limiting than a headlamp, especially when you move your head. It also offers far better broad area illumination … perfect for when you want to see every corner of the dunny!
The Ra gets its power from external battery packs via USB cable, and depending on the brightness set, it can reportedly operate for more than 200 hours. Zyntony is just finalising the design and pricing and plans to start shipping the Ra this June.