HexBright Flex Programmable Flashlight

July 13, 2011 Site News, Tools — Miro

Here’s something you don’t see every day: a programmable flashlight!

Through some NASA lunar excavator connections (no joke) we made friends with Christian Carlberg, the creator of absolutely smashing Kickstarter project. Before building moon-dirt-digging robots with us, Christian was a Battle Bots contestant for several years. When we found out about his latest project, we offered to let him work out of our office while he worked to get it off the ground. He’s hanging out with us for last few months, and it’s been exciting to watch his bright little idea grow into one of the top-grossing Kickstarter projects of all time—he has over $172,000 in pre-orders right now, and there’s still 5 days left!

The HexBright Flex is a programmable flashlight that you can program however you’d like. Each HexBright Flex has a microUSB port within its aluminum body. Just twist off the cap and plug in a USB cable; the rest is up to your imagination. You can have simple ON/OFF functionality, ON/ON MAX (max brightness)/OFF, ON/FLASH TWICE/OFF, etc. — basically, whatever you can think of.

The coolest implementation we’ve heard of so far: a pilot has written a program to make the Flex to flash his call sign in Morse code. He’s planning on attaching it to the back of his wing for other pilots to see. There are thousands of possibilities, so feel free to give your best suggestion in the comments below.

The Flex' body is made of a single chunk of flex aluminum.

The Flex' body is made of a single chunk of flex aluminum.

Other neato features of the flashlight include:

  • A USA-made CREE XM-L super bright LED outputting 500 lumens (LM). For reference, a solid $30 flashlight outputs about 100 lumens.
  • A rechargeable lithium-ion battery. No need to buy or replace batteries, just plug your HexBright Flex into any USB port. The battery is easily user-replaceable, which as you well know is an absolute must for iFixit endorsement of any product.
  • An easily programmable Atmel ATmega IC processor. Development tools are available for all platforms (PC/Mac/Linux).
  • A waterproof body constructed of a single chunk of hex-shaped aluminum.
  • A sealed rubber switch on the back of the flashlight that controls the microprocessor — not just a simple disconnect switch.
  • An open-source tool to program the flashlight however you want.

The HexBright Flex comes shipped with default program modes of high (500 LM), medium (350 LM), low (200 LM), and blinky. We’ll be selling it for $119.99 once it’s commercially available. However, if you make a $60 pledge on Kickstarter, you’ll get a Flex in your choice of color (black, red, green, or blue); and if you pledge $75, you’ll even get your name (or a word) etched into the flashlight. The only brighter way to spend $75 would be on bootleg fireworks, but those are a tad more dangerous.

The Flex has a rugged look and very solid feel in one's hands.

The Flex has a rugged look and very solid feel in one's hands.

There’s less than a week left before this Kickstarter project gets funded, so make sure to get your pre-order place in time!

3 Comments

  1. Very cool.

    The software may be open source, but he better patent the design or it will be instantly copied.

    Here’s how: http://bit.ly/kikpat

    Comment by Mark Nowotarski (patent agent) — July 16, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

  2. This looks awesome! Just pledged, and I am really looking forward to getting this. I hope it works out. I would say though, that I would like to see some better form of like a keyring hole to attach to something. Or also maybe some form of belt holster like some of the MagLites come with. With or without these things, though, this is exactly the kind of quality I have been looking for from a flashlight, but have yet been able to find. Can’t wait! If it works out, I will likely order more in the future!

    Comment by Jonathan Goldsmith — July 16, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  3. Mark Nowotarski – why do you have to spam the same patent agent troll message on every single article about this flashlight. Are you that desperate for work? Regardless your approach is tacky.

    Comment by Troll Hunter — July 28, 2011 @ 4:54 pm


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