Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Man Creates Open Source Flashlight

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the things-we-don't-need dept.

GNU is Not Unix 172

DeviceGuru writes "Not content with revealing the source code to his mom's banana bread, two-time BattleBots champion Christian Carlberg has developed an open source flashlight. Carlberg first achieved notoriety shredding competitors' robots with Minion's 14-inch saw blade on BattleBots. Now he's all fired up to begin shipping what they say could be the 'world's first open source flashlight.' But why in the world would you want a reprogrammable flashlight?"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (4, Funny)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362518)

Well one that looks like this, I can think of a couple uses for it...

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362632)

Well one that looks like this, I can think of a couple uses for it...

No! No! No! TMI!

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362702)

I meant using it as the hilt for a sword. What were you thinking?

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (3, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362836)

I meant using it as the hilt for a sword.

Great, just what we needed, a new euphemism for that activity.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (4, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363044)

Not a new euphemism at all. Mind you, "vagina" is the Latin word for "scabbard".

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363692)

Not a new euphemism at all. Mind you, "vagina" is the Latin word for "scabbard".

LOL ... he's not joking [yahoo.com] .

That's the funniest thing I've heard in weeks. :-P

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362696)

FTA: My primary goal is to put as much of your pledge money into what really matters for a light- the LED, the electronics, optics, and the battery.

It seems that the programmability, and thus the open-source nature of said programmability, is really incidental. The thing needs a microcontroller to implement flashing modes etc, and since the guy's a nerd, hey, why not open it up, might get a bit of extra publicity that way. But primarily the guy's trying to make a better flashlight.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362734)

Huh, when I read the headline I assumed the CAD files for the housing, electronics, etc would all be available. Looking closer it seems like you're right, which is a little disappointing (although not much since I'd never build one of these anyway).

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (4, Informative)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362816)

Huh, when I read the headline I assumed the CAD files for the housing, electronics, etc would all be available.

From one of Christian's comments:

We are thinking about releasing the drawing for the body ("open source") so folks like you can design whatever accessories you want for it.

Also, in response to the following question:

Is it just the source code that is open source, or is the PCB/Schematic also open source?

He answered:

We think we are going to lead a paradigm shift in the flashlight world and open it all up.

So, yes, it does appear that he's planning on making it 100% open source.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (0)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362876)

Hooray!

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363048)

That's interesting, I guess, but that sort of thing is trivial to reverse engineer if you wanted to change the design. If I'm going to make a or alter flashlight, the only reason I would do so is if there isn't one close to what I needed, and I'd make my own design because it's not complicated to start from scratch here.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363244)

That's interesting, I guess, but that sort of thing is trivial to reverse engineer if you wanted to change the design.

Absolutely. But it's far more trivial to load a CAD file than to re-trace one. Be that the 3D CAD for the housing or the PCB cad for the board.

If I'm going to make a or alter flashlight, the only reason I would do so is if there isn't one close to what I needed, and I'd make my own design because it's not complicated to start from scratch here.

But it would take you much more effort and probably cost you more (see the economies of scale argument).

Then again.. you sell (among other) small bars of metal with standard shoe mounts and tightening knobs for a pretty $60.
http://shop.dm-accessories.com/products/uni-sab [dm-accessories.com]
So I'm guessing that both reverse engineering and pricing wouldn't be an issue for you :)

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363846)

So why haven't you done it?

CPF [candlepowerforums.com] has a large community of flashlight geeks. Some of them have been at it a long time and are very competent (see McGizmo), but there isn't really anything like what this guy proposes.

Building a suitable housing and mating a good switch and reflector and emitter and driver and lens and power source, have all been done many times over. There is a lack of good, readily programmable, software. Making the thing blink in different patterns is not exactly rocket science, but a few clicks to customize the way the driver manages light output in response to voltage gets my flashlight geek endorphins flowing.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362910)

Huh, when I read the headline I assumed the CAD files for the housing, electronics, etc would all be available. Looking closer it seems like you're right, which is a little disappointing (although not much since I'd never build one of these anyway).

Unless I'm missing something, it's open source, the same way that a windows gaming box is open source, because the Jameco catalog had a very general article about selecting and assembling various sub assemblies to "make yer own PC", and it even named by model number one of the parts.

All five pieces of the machine of course are closed source, and both overall and detail blueprints are closed source.

I'm expecting the next breathless admission to be that when he says it has 48 candle power, or whatever, it turns out it actually is just two 24-count boxes of tea light candles.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (5, Informative)

thcooke77 (2239594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363220)

We have decided to make the light 100% open source. Mechanical, Electrical, and Software will all be released. Terry Cooke @Hexbright

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362716)

It's FLASHLIGHT, not fleshlight.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362768)

I'd want one with a wireless beacon so I can find it if I lose it. I've lost half a dozen maglites throughout the years.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362840)

My initial reaction was... "Who the hell wants a programmable flashlight?" I already have several maglites around the house now - durable, fairly rugged, and bright. But then... the batteries often die, and the bulbs often get weaker. This looks like a pretty good improvement.

So I pledged $220 to the project. Four programmable lights, 500 lumens, rechargeable, heavy duty bar stock casing? Yes please - 2 for camping, 1 for the house, 1 for the car. A persuasive pitch, and it looks like a heck of a product.

Re:Why would I what a reprogrammable flashlight? (2)

torgis (840592) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363256)

Reprogrammable flashlight? Useless. Reprogrammable fleshlight? Priceless.

Good Idea (2)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362588)

The idea is really a good one because, as the embedded videos in the article point out, not everyone has the same needs for a flashlight. The product allows customization through your computer. I really like the idea that you can charge the light over USB and program it too. This product really defines the saying, "Build a better mousetrap and world will beat a path to your door."

Re:Good Idea (1, Insightful)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362628)

I really like the idea that you can charge the light over USB and program it too.

I'm not really sure I like that idea. My uses for flashlights tend to be a) camping, and b) when the power goes out. Unfortunately with USB charging I would get one charge's worth of use in those situations. With regular old batteries I can replace them to infinity, and if I forgot some I can pick them up at a gas station on my way to the woods.

Re:Good Idea (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362720)

I'm not really sure I like that idea. My uses for flashlights tend to be a) camping, and b) when the power goes out. Unfortunately with USB charging I would get one charge's worth of use in those situations.

http://www.google.com/search?q=mobile+phone+charger+aa [google.com]

With regular old batteries I can replace them to infinity, and if I forgot some I can pick them up at a gas station on my way to the woods.

See again above. Alternatively, note that there are two different HexBrights. The HexBright Prime uses CR123a batteries which convenience stores in the U.S. stock as far as I was able to tell (not so common in Europe).
The 18650 used in the HexBright Flex is less common, but I would be surprised if there wouldn't be some manner of solution for that.

Keep in mind also that the design of the HexBright, as far as I know, is not set in stone just yet. So if you're saying "what if I want to power it directly from AA batteries?", get Christian's thoughts on that. He's been very responsive through the kickstarter project page.

Re:Good Idea (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362932)

A 18650 battery you buy on the store's shelf will come without charge, and if you store for years it will die or be severely limited, even though it has never been used.

Non-replaceable batteries don't suffer as much of this problem. Alternatively, a supercapacitor might be a good candidate, it may discharge over time but shouldn't degrade. You could build an actually useful crank-activated LED flashlight this way.

Re:Good Idea (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363392)

Not sure how practical the crank would be on a 500 lumen chip. That thing draws 5W at full power. You might be turning a fairly heavy crank to keep it glowing.

Of course, being reprogrammable, you could have the cranking circuit put it in "dim and easy to crank" mode.

Re:Good Idea (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363030)

With regular old batteries I can replace them to infinity, and if I forgot some I can pick them up at a gas station on my way to the woods.

I think you still don't get it... When my flashlight does dark, I can have light again in about 30 to 60 seconds because I have a pack of AA batteries waiting for it, or whatever other AA powered device runs out of juice. If it takes overnight to charge off my car, that kinda defeats the purpose of using a flashlight at night while backpack camping... Also a lovely circular fail mode when using the flashlight to see what I'm doing while jumpstarting my car in the dark, if I had the juice to charge the light so I could see what I was jumpstarting, I wouldn't need the jumpstart, or if it takes overnight to charge so I can see what I'm doing, I could wait overnight for it to charge, except that the sun usually rises in the morning, so why not skip charging and use solar light to see what I'm doing...

Its the electric car needs charging argument all over again. But instead of being a huge energy hog worthy of a microscopic level of effort to work around, its ... just a flashlight.

Re:Good Idea (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363148)

Not sure if you meant to reply to me - but for what it's worth, I was pointing specifically to the fact that one of the two types takes reasonably standard batteries, albeit not AA, and the other (the actually programmable one, the HexBright Flex) will happily run off of one of those AA-based mobile phone chargers. Just don't expect it to run for very long because the 1.5V has to go through a boost first to get up to the USB voltage required (5V) and the battery's mAh rating decreases accordingly. But given the use case for "able to quickly replace with AA batteries when needed", that shouldn't be an issue.

Although Christian does say that this light may not be for everyone. For emergency lighting, I'd recommend a crank-type flashlight instead. Not as powerful, but certainly more appropriate.

Re:Good Idea (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362746)

Sure, but there are already portable USB chargers for use with cell phones so you could plug your light into one of those in a pinch. You could also charge the flashlight from a cigarette lighter. Sure, it's carrying more batteries but there are tradeoffs to everything.

Re:Good Idea (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362766)

I'm not really sure I like that idea. My uses for flashlights tend to be a) camping, and b) when the power goes out. Unfortunately with USB charging I would get one charge's worth of use in those situations. With regular old batteries I can replace them to infinity, and if I forgot some I can pick them up at a gas station on my way to the woods.

One of the bigger issues with flashlights is that the batteries are often flat when you finally decide to use it. With replaceable batteries you can, of course, go buy new ones but many a time that's inconvenient (right after the tornado hits). A USB powered flashlight has some potential advantages - you can charge it pretty much anywhere these days. Plug in charger (I can see 4 USB chargers from where I'm sitting now), pretty much any computer made since 2000, many cars. USB is becoming more ubiquitous than AA cells. And for whatever reason, lithium rechargeable cells tend not to leak like regular batteries - that's another really common killer of the flashlight that is stuck in a drawer for two years.

As for the programming, it seems to be a bit overkill. I just built a similar, dumber circuit out of a 555 timer because I had an old filament powered headlamp that I wanted to convert to LED and a bunch of bright LEDs. But if it floats your boat, go for it. Same with the over engineered aluminum case.

Re:Good Idea (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362942)

The use case I imagined right away was charging it up from a laptop battery in the event of power failure. But in other situations I think the adaptation of USB as a standard device charging format makes a lot of sense (USB being Universal and all).

Re:Good Idea (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362880)

If you're worried about batteries just get a flashlight with a crank or one of those ones you shake to charge. You can also apply some glow in the dark paint so the flashlight glows if and when the power goes out.

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363796)

You can also apply some glow in the dark paint so the flashlight glows if and when the power goes out.

So then... don't put it in a drawer?

Re:Good Idea (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362930)

Got an idea - get a 12v to usb adapter (cig lighter/power port - whatever you want to call it) for your vehicle. Covers both scenarios:
a. camping. Someone has a vehicle around, and even if you don't start the car you can get a bunch of charges into the light.
b. power goes out - again, there is a car somewhere.
Anyhow; my main point here is this - in Ohio we had the power go out maybe 3 years ago - pretty bad wind storms. Most of the stores nearby were shut down due to lack of power, so getting batteries meant driving somewhere. Granted, had to go get food etc - but for the first few days, we just ate what we could in the pantry etc. Charging via USB I think is not the worst way to go; the other option is to use an inverter - again, off the car. I kept my fridge cool on day 1 using that. Of course, I also have some SLA batteries on charge for power outages too....

Stop whining about charging it Re:Good Idea (1)

czmax (939486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363124)

Its just an onboard battery. You can probably even replace it with replaceable batteries if you want to put the work in. Or use an external power pack that runs off of store bought batteries to recharge it.

http://www.ladyada.net/make/mintyboost/ [ladyada.net]

Re:Good Idea (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363992)

I'm not really sure I like that idea. My uses for flashlights tend to be a) camping, and b) when the power goes out. Unfortunately with USB charging I would get one charge's worth of use in those situations.

Well, I bought a solar USB charger [scosche.com] at Wal Mart for thirty bucks. Good enough to charge cell phones and iPods and still have juice left ... not quite up to the task of charging my Tom Tom without being completely depleted. (In fact, I've got two of them, and they're fairly rugged and come with carabiners so you can attach them to packs or what have you. They can also be charged with a micro USB cable.)

I think portable USB power is actually becoming fairly easy to get nowadays, and I've even seen things you can put together relatively cheaply to give you USB powered by batteries [instructables.com] .

As much as possible, I won't buy devices which don't charge from standard USB ... there's craploads of ways to make that work out for you if everything uses the same cables. I've got a four port Kensington USB wall-socket thing ... it'll handle 110/220V and 50Hz/60Hz so pretty much power in any country give or take the adapter for the physical plug.

Between the Kensington and the two solar things ... I can actually cover a fair bit of my power needs --- I think charging the flashlight from USB is a brilliant idea.

Re:Good Idea (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362924)

I *almost* threw down for the basic model until I realized it took non standard batteries. Would it have been that difficult to design one around AA batteries?

Re:Good Idea (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362958)

cr123 is a standard battery. Almost any place that has cameras or batteries has them. They are more expensive, but last longer.

Re:Good Idea (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363178)

If you can't easily find them at Walmart or any big box store, then it's really not 'standard'.
AA Batteries [walmart.com]
CR123 Search [walmart.com]

Rechargeable NIMH CR123 Search on Ebay [ebay.com]
Rechargeable NIMH AA Search on Ebay [ebay.com]

Re:Good Idea (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363378)

http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=CR123+NIMH&_sacat=0&_odkw=CR123+NMHI

You do realize that you just searched for CR123 NiMH, right?
Would you like to retry that search with Lithium instead?
http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=CR123a+lithium [ebay.com]

Walmart obviously shows 1 hit on their site.. how many more do you need?

I've seen them aplenty in the U.S., they're typically on the racks near the registers.

They're a bit more rare in the EU, though. Plenty of websites that sell them, but step into a local Aldi or whatever and you may not have the luck of seeing them there.

Re:Good Idea (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363734)

Yes, because they can't sustain the voltages needed to drive the emitter. At least not for any appreciable time.

Re:Good Idea (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363288)

> "Build a better mousetrap and world will beat a path to your door."
Ironically, that statement isn't true because there's already a lot of good, cheap mousetraps available on the market. (A while back, This American Life did an short clip on building a better mousetrap - and how people keep trying to build better ones, even though there isn't really a need for better ones. "The world actually does not need a better mousetrap. The world will not beat a path to that person's door." http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/311/a-better-mousetrap [thisamericanlife.org] )

The idea is really a good one because, as the embedded videos in the article point out, not everyone has the same needs for a flashlight. The product allows customization through your computer. I really like the idea that you can charge the light over USB and program it too.
Sounds good when you're talking in generalizations. But, more concretely, do you have specific ideas? Because, I can't think of one single reason why I'd want to use this new flashlight instead of a "dumb" LED flashlight like the one I already have (and is probably a lot less expensive). Is this just a case of nerds getting seduced by vague ideas about being able to program a flashlight, while the reality will be much, much more boring?

Re:Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363398)

I read that as "Fleshlight". So I have a better one:

The open-source Fleshlight [nerdnirvana.org] ;) (SFW)

Re:Good Idea (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363580)

I really like the idea that you can charge the light over USB and program it too.

As with the poster above, that doesn't sound as much useful as it does geek marketing hype.
 
My 'system', such as it is, is already built around rechargeable AA batteries. As I have a pool of charged spares, that means I always have fresh batteries if a device dies, or can cannibalize between devices at need - and immediately have that device available. Having to wait to charge the flashlight and requiring an USB charger in addition to the kit I normally carry/keep track of isn't really acceptable.

Well (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362592)

It looks pretty basic to me.

If it had a bunch of sensors stuck to it, you could reprogram something pretty cool, but as it is, what are you going to do with it?

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362640)

Program it to do whatever you want?

give it a strobe function, a slow fade in function, an SOS function, set the levels of lighting the way you want them and not the manufacturer default of "off / barely bright enough to find my way around the house at night / ARGH MY EYES", etc.

Add further capabilities with RGB version down the line.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the data pins on the microcontroller go unused and if he's smart-ish, he'll break those out for you so you can hook up sensors.

Alternatively, perhaps you can work through the existing USB interface, though that requires more work on your part.

Re:Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362986)

give it a strobe function, a slow fade in function, an SOS function, set the levels of lighting the way you want them and not the manufacturer default of "off / barely bright enough to find my way around the house at night / ARGH MY EYES", etc.

These are all great ideas. It's also worth noting that the main input (i.e. the push-button) factors into what's programmable. So you could pick your own input scheme to change between the various settings you suggested. For example, instead of the typical push-to-cycle setup:

Off - (push button) - Mode 1 - (push button) - Mode 2 - (push button) - Mode 3 - (push button) - Off - (repeat)

You could instead have them push the button to switch it on/off and hold the button to change modes:

Off - (push button) - Mode 1 - (push button) - Off - (push button) - Mode 1 - (hold button) - Mode 2 - (push button) - Off - (push button) - Mode 2

That way, turning the flashlight on and off is really easy while selecting modes takes a bit more effort. You could even presumably do single vs. double clicks on the button, instead.

All unused pins will be accessible (3, Informative)

thcooke77 (2239594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363058)

All of the unused pins will be accessible in some manner! The design of the Hexbright Flex will be 100% hackable! Terry Cooke Electrical and Mechanical Engineer @Hexbright

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363376)

I can see it now.

I get a visit from Homeland Fucking Security after Lulzsec hacks my flashlight and tells it to start flashing "I'm on my way to blow up the [insert target]" (which I won't do here so I don't get a visit from Homeland Fucking Security.

Re:Well (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362792)

If it had a bunch of sensors stuck to it

Three buttons, humidity, temperature and motion sensors plus several LEDs all controllable separately and this would garner a whole lot more interest; you'd actually be able to do some neat tricks with it then.

Re:Well (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363210)

If it had a light sensor stuck to it, you could program the bulb to give a light output depending on how dark the surroundings are. That might be fun to play with, you could pretty much choose how light the surroundings are.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362866)

I have a Bushnell light that will automatically blink morse for SOS. Its retail value was $80 when I won it as a door prize a few years ago.

There's a good start.

yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362616)

Of course slash stupid would be all for this, it's nonsense and stupid.

BSD? GPL? Apache?? Hardware too or just SW? (1)

mrnick (108356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362630)

I wonder if they are going to open source the entire project, hardware and all? I guess I'll hold out and wait and see what kind of license they use on this before I "donate"...

Re:BSD? GPL? Apache?? Hardware too or just SW? (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362758)

From one of Christian's comments:

We are thinking about releasing the drawing for the body ("open source") so folks like you can design whatever accessories you want for it.

Note that he will be using stock components for some bits of the hardware. It's not up to him to 'open source' the microcontoller or Cree's LED solutions, for example. So in that manner of speaking, no, it's not 100% open source. Nor is a typical computer running Linux. But anybody can build a Linux-capable machine without knowing how to build a CPU and if you'd want, you can build your own HexBright without knowing how to build an LED.

Re:BSD? GPL? Apache?? Hardware too or just SW? (1)

thcooke77 (2239594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363118)

We have decided to make the flash light 100% open source! Terry Cooke @Hexbright

So, it's an extremely bright hand-held strobe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362662)

Could be useful for self-defense... or less legitimate actions. Wonder how long it'll take for municipalities to start banning these? I wouldn't be surprised if many already have.

Did anyone else... (2)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362666)

Did anyone else read this headline as "Man Creates Open Source Fleshlight"?

Because man, what a different article that would be.

Re:Did anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362822)

yeah... got all excited

Re:Did anyone else... (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362854)

You are not alone.

Re:Did anyone else... (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362856)

yeah, and boy was I were disappointed

Re:Did anyone else... (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362892)

It's been done already. I read about it last year.

Re:Did anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363850)

http://www.slackers.co.za/uploads/20081218/diy.jpg

http://www.nerdnirvana.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/diy-fleshlight.jpg

Re:Did anyone else... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363050)

Yeah! Same here :-)

Re:Did anyone else... (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363142)

Which I guess is MUCH better than an Open Sores Fleshlight...

I love the trend of "open source hardware" (1)

Julie188 (991243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362674)

Flashlight looks cool. I have a friend with a full machine shop in his garage, so if he ever decides to make a flashlight it's nice to know he can just grab the documents and freely make one like this. I can think of reasons why you might want to program a flashlight ... maybe you want a combo flashlight/strobe/disco ball ... Julie Open Source Subnet [networkworld.com]

Some applications.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362676)

Well, there was talk about nausea-causing flashlights [technologyreview.com] a while back. This flashlight however is not multicolored, so it'll miss some of the effectiveness.

Other application is to make cheap strobolight out of it. Perhaps feed it with blink-patterns via the USB connection.

If they had used a RGB-LED it would've made a better toy. :-)

he should build a open source pinball game not a f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362694)

he should build a open source pinball game not a flash light.

Did anybody else notice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362710)

Did anybody else notice that his flashlight looks like a sex toy? Those ribs probably make some interesting sensations, if you are into being violated that way...

Need More Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362726)

Needs more statistics like runtime at different levels, beam distance, peak beam intensity (candela) and what approvals it has (if any), burn time and (bulb/lamp) life if it really wants to break into the flashlight market. As someone who does acquirement for aviation, a cheap flashlight with output levels like those listed which are programmable would be a god send.

Re:Need More Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362848)

Oh, all the juicy stuff is at the bottom of the page. I guess this is why I'm only in acquirement :P

Re:Need More Information (2)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362916)

As someone who "does acquirement for aviation" (most of us call that purchasing), you should know that he'd need a Lockheed Martin behind him to create all the paperwork you just listed. And the price would go to $300 apiece.

Re:Need More Information (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363086)

Not really. Only the 'approvals' bit would cost a pretty penny.

All of the other measurements are routinely done at enthusiast forums, such as candlepowerforums or that polish one, with several members having reasonably expensive, calibrated, equipment to do just that. Their numbers are more reliable than that of the manufacturer's, too.

You can also usually find information on the LED used - in the case of the HexBright, a Cree XM-L - at those forums. The XM-L is still pretty new, though, so there haven't been any particular real world lifetime tests yet, but you can dig into the datasheet to see what Cree claims.

Re:Need More Information (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363112)

Actually

If I can raise more than my fundraising goal I will be able to run the HexBright Prime and HexBright Flex through a series of tests to qualify them as "tactical" lights. Tactical lights are typically at least 250 lumens and cost over $200. How cool would it be for you to own a 350 lumen tactical light for a $35 pledge?

Re:Need More Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363342)

The plaque on the office door says "Acquirement", I just work here, I don't name anything.

Flashlight Overlords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362730)

My flashlights consist of a switch, a bulb, a battery, and some wire.
No way am I welcoming our flashlight overlords.

Website reads like an infomercial (1)

Kuukai (865890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362804)

For just one low payment of $35 (Canadians add $10 S&H) you can get this SPECIAL flashlight (retail value 54.95!!) that can, uh... "run up and down mathematical equations". If you program a chip. Which you could probably do with any flashlight if you know how to do that. I kinda feel bad for all the exploited nerds funding this...

Oblig. Penny Arcade on Kickstarter [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Website reads like an infomercial (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362920)

Which you could probably do with any flashlight if you know how to do that.

I don't know if you're serious - but I know plenty of people who can program but wouldn't know the first thing about electronics - and vice-versa.

Even if you do know enough about both, have you considered what you're saying?

First you have to take a reasonably powerful flashlight - say an older P7 because they're available cheap-ish - which still runs at about the same price as this thing.

Then you have to take it apart and make some space for a microcontroller and driving circuitry to do what you need it to do.
You need to replace the standard button on it with a tristate button.
Then you need to get a USB charging module in there.
And then, once that's done, you still need to make it look nice and polished, fit appropriate batteries, and make it reasonably waterproof.

AND you still have to be within the original budget.

I'm sure it can be done. But then, you could probably build your own flashlight using a cardboard tube, an old broken coated spotlight bulb, some wires and some tape, and call the people who buy a standard flashlight at their local convenience store 'exploited'.

Re:Website reads like an infomercial (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363232)

This is what I was thinking? What value is brought by this flashlight that can't be quickly and cheaply replicated? But, it's "open source" so let all Slashdot the drooling begin.

Having a flashlight that "runs Linux" isn't worth it to me.

Open source Fleshlight please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36362842)

this would make more men happy, and ir

When are the open source violins coming? (1)

nofrills (2236332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36362992)

xkcd.com/743/

Re:When are the open source violins coming? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363120)

It exists, but it is just a model. One that makes noise would be nice.
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3193 [thingiverse.com]

Things I could do with the Open flashlight (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363046)

I could program: 1. SOS 2. One flash if by Land, two flashes if by Sea, (and to update it 3 if by air, 4 if by subway) 3. Binary transmission of it's own source code. 4. Binary transmission of p0rn. Brings a whole new meaning to the word "Flasher" 5. Step 1. Buy One million of them, Step 2. Put red filters on 1/3 of them, green on another 1/3 and blue on the rest. Step 3. Put them in an array, Step 4. Get the biggest HD TV in the UNIVERSE.

"Why in the world?" Four Words: (1)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363200)

Why the heck not!

Open sauce flhaslight? Grate! No MSFT neede (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363216)

Open sauce flhaslight? Grate! No MSFT needed. Finnally I can get a fashlihgt without the MSFT taxx! Wonder what Appel has to say to that!

Oblig (1)

ebs16 (1069862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363274)

Will it blend? Can it run Linux?

Re:Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363548)

Will it blend?

Maybe?

Can it run Linux?

No

So, (1)

mcavic (2007672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363296)

Does this mean I have to wait for my flashlight to boot? What flavor of Linux does it run?

Law enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363428)

TFA mentions law enforcement reprogramming it. There was a story on the local news about people using an iPhone app that makes their phone look like the light in an unmarked police car, and actually using it to pull people over. Scary stuff.

Inefficient machining (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363466)

I machined the body out of 1-inch aluminum hex bar stock.

He actually machined out the center of hex bar stock. Boring a large-diameter hole lengthwise through bar stock is a slow job, and 80% of the metal ends up as chips. You don't do that in a production product. (Well, Apple once did it for one model of laptop, but that didn't catch on.) The outside machining doesn't look all that tough. It's lathe work, either manual or CNC. There's a lot of excess metal there, though, which runs the weight up.

If you want a good flashlight, get one of the MagLite models. [maglite.com] They have LED models now, and even offer a blink option and "intelligent battery management". They're also waterproof, shock-resistant, easy to grip, and the standard flashlight for military and first responder use. They're machined out of aluminum tube, not stamped or extruded.

The problem with flashlights isn't features. It's corrosion and wiring failures. Adding all that complexity means a lot more internal connections to fail. If you're going to make something like this, it needs to go through the military ruggedness tests.

Re:Inefficient machining (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363858)

If you'd read the KickStarter page, you would've come across this part:

Also, I need to make molds and aluminum extrusion dies to reduce manufacturing costs. I machined my original HexBright Prime out of solid hex-bar stock, but if I can have the bar stock made with a hole in the middle I save a ton of time and money

Which pretty much addresses half your post.

Your corrosion and wiring concerns are valid enough, but I'm confident that both will be treated appropriately. My only concern is actually with regard to the button (I'd like a button of the same type used on cameras so that a soft press can just turn it on for as long as I hold the button there, and a full button press actually switches) and aftermarket capabilities. The former being a use concern, the other being a versatility concern.

As for features not being 'the problem with flashlights', that depends on who you ask. I have a MagLite, it's just fine, and thanks to its bulk I can cave in somebody's skull with it - which makes it popular among guards and such. But it's still not going to be programmable, and it only has 3 modes (as mentioned above: off, not quite bright enough, and way too bright).

Shredding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363520)

"Carlberg first achieved notoriety shredding competitors' robots with Minion's 14-inch saw blade on BattleBots."

Didn't Minion's saw break in one of the early rounds? Minion had a great run (before getting hit with an Atomic Wedgie the next time around), but the saw was largely decorative.

Light Plus Communication? (1)

coffeegoat (1751644) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363560)

Much like everyone else my intial thoughts were just meh. I just got a 4-Sevens Preon 1 Revo and it is relatively mind blowing to carry around a 80 lumen light which is not much bigger than a AAA battery. And thus far I've really enjoyed the ability to easily switch between the mode. What else am I going to do with a flashlight.

But then I began to imagine the possibilities of a programmable light. Include sensor feedback, line of sight communication, integration with other devices (imagine an arduino hooked up to one of these!) and the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. I mean you could rig this thing up to a serial in/out system and create your own semaphore line. Or investigate ultra battery performance, or even just play around using it as a stun gun. Think of the possibilities....

Re:Light Plus Communication? (2)

thcooke77 (2239594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363894)

Funny you should say arduino, I specifically choose the Atmega88/168 so that it would be easy in the near future to make it "Arduino Compatible". The initial release will use a boot-loader that could eventually be used with the Arduino IDE. Terry @ Hexbright

$31k? Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363602)

The thing that's bothered me about this project from the very beginning is the price. $31,000 dollars to build a flashlight? Really?

The gentleman spearheading this project has been posting on CPF for a while now (http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?315591-Hexbright-Open-source-flashlight) and while I'm always happy to see another modder step forward, I can't take him seriously with the price tag.

CPF is absolutely FULL of modders who create things like this on a daily basis with a shoestring budget. The difference between the custom lights CPF'ers create and this guy is that he was the very first one to take his idea to Kickstarter. The press, totally boggled by the idea that there could be people out there obsessed with, of all things, flashlights took the story and ran with it.

I wish him luck, but I hope the money actually goes entirely towards the project. If he builds it on $2000 (which is how much a prototype of this realistically costs) and pockets the rest, that's dirty.

Re:$31k? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36363862)

The thing you have to remember is that the $31000 includes production of 1+ flashlights for every pledger who pledges more than $35.

Ha!!! (1, Funny)

koan (80826) | more than 3 years ago | (#36363778)

I initially read it as "open source fleshlight"

Programming Mode Idea (1)

SLOviper (763177) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364016)

The best idea I've heard so far for programming is to use the first click to turn the LED on to ~100 lumens then to use the button as a momentary switch to crank it all the way to 500. Let off and it returns to 100. Makes sense in a lot of situations where you might need a lot of light quickly and don't want to be flipping through brightness modes to get there - with the plus that it would also help runtime.

fun for deviants (1)

ThePhish (154000) | more than 3 years ago | (#36364026)

Won't take much work for someone to go and hack the flash pattern to go and mimic Opticom traffic pre-emption signals, and then start pre-empting local traffic control. Some asshat will do this, get smashed up - or worse use it in aiding/abetting a crime, and then blinking flashlights will become illegal, if some DA gets their way.

A quick mod to it makes it an infrared LED, and then all of a sudden you have an invisible device that you can attach to your vehicle and roll thru town causing all kinds of chaos. You're only talking about 6hz / 11hz or something like that, my Droid device does that already on a smaller scale.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?