Sunday, March 18, 2012

Meet the Flashlight that Does Everything


I tend to hesitate to write about crowdfunded Kickstarter projects because a lot of times, they don’t actually pull through. There are complications associated with crowdfunding and such, so the device must be something really interesting to for me to even bother with more than a brief writeup. Well, today, I read about a flashlight that wants to replace, well, everything… and I just had to share.

Meet Fogo, a “smart flashlight” that has probably as many sensors as your smartphone and does just as much. Here’s the list of features that are expected to be included according to the Kickstarter page:

  • GPS Receiver
  • Flashlight
  • USB Backup Battery
  • App Based OS
  • Bluetooth LE (aka Bluetooth Smart)
  • Motion Tracker/Pedometer (Accelerometer)
  • Backlit LCD Screen
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Digital Compass (Magnetometer)
  • Bicycle Computer (Speed, Elevation, Odometer, Bluetooth Sensors)
  • Rechargeable, Field-Replaceable Batteries
  • SmartCap Interface (USB/UART/5V Power)
  • Clock/Calendar/Alarm
  • 128MB built-in Flash storage

I wasn’t kidding when I said this little device wants to do pretty much everything, but I wonder how well this super flashlight can actually perform any of these tasks. The Kickstarter page is full of ideas on how you could use Fogo to replace your biking GPS, as a walkie-talkie, to track friends, help hike in the dark, send emails and text messages, sync with apps, etc. Fogo is also waterproof, durable and has some pretty neat automatic brightness sensors for the actual flashlight part.

Here’s a GIF from the Kickstarter illustrating the waypoint navigation that is to be included. The idea is that you can upload waypoints from your smartphone and then use Fogo to actually navigate.



Click the image to see the moving GIF


Fogo does have a pretty cool feature where if you’re walking in the dark for some reason, Fogo’s light will flash to let you know when you’re heading in the wrong direction. While that’s kind of a neat feature, I still think I’d rather trust my GPS.

The Kickstarter price for this robust gadget is $250 if you wanna use it as a walkie-talkie, and $200 without the walkie-talkie add-on. The early bird special, which as of writing there are still some left, is $175 – $225 and shipping is expected in September of 2015.

Here’s the promotional video the company included with the Kickstarter:

I’m not all that much of a hiker and super outdoorsy person, but I’m not sure that having one device that does everything is really the way to go. I would think backups are necessary, not to mention it’s hard to do everything well. But, I’m not an expert. What do you think? Would you use this device? Let me know in the comments!

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