Intelligent flashlight will literally show you the way

Flashlights are so 20th Century. Be it the incandescent type that popped up very early on, or LED models with came around in the 90’s, there’s not much excitement to the devices. But [Sriranjan Rasakatla] is doing his best to change that. This is his WAY-GO Torch, an intelligent flashlight (a Smart Light?) that will not just light your path, but overlay useful data on it.

At the front of the unit a pico projector is housed on a jointed assembly. This allows the device to project data on the ground in front of you. Using a digital compass and GPS module, it can show the polar coordinates, guide you on your way, or provide information about the buildings around you. The motorized mount provides image stabilization based on IMU data. Check out the demonstration video after the break. It shows general functionality in the first part of the clip, with some footage of the stabilization system at about 4:30.

This really does seem like it came right out of a Sci-Fi novel. It’s useful, but the complexity makes it surprising that [Sriranjan] was able to pull it off. We wonder how the battery life is on the device, but it can’t be any worse that one of those really huge flashlight builds.

Comments

  1. Ren says:

    Cool!

  2. 1000100 1000001 1010110 1000101 says:

    Excellent concept, and impressive implementation on the prototype.

  3. This video really needs English translated text. I’m understanding about 90% of the words, sorry.

    Very impressive build.

  4. rasz says:

    needs english translation, prototype hardly works

  5. polossatik says:

    nice concept, to bad I just did not understood half what was said, mainly due that annoying music mixed in.

  6. fartface says:

    I wonder what is causing the projection failures that happen all the time.

    Also would this not be better as a HUD instead of a “flashlight”? his design and data output would be rocking cool for a set of sunglasses.

  7. Hirudinea says:

    Forget the flashlight just put the displays into night vision goggles.

  8. vonskippy says:

    Seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    The reason there hasn’t been any significant changes to the basic design of a flashlight over the years is because it simply just works, and there’s not a lot of useful ways you can improve on that.

  9. torwag says:

    Interesting work,
    however, it shows nicely how much video cameras still suck under dark environments ;)

  10. that’s a cool project!
    great job man!

  11. voodoo says:

    Cool project, but these guys win the award for worst demo video of 2012 (so far)

  12. wardy says:

    The concept is very cool but I think the bendy flashlight idea is a bit odd. The obvious markets for this are military and emergency services – neither of which would want to occupy a user’s hand with something like a navigation aid when they should be using that hand for carrying rifles or medical gear. I definitely think a head-mounted HUD style thing would be suitable, but then they already exist anyway.

    It’s very impressive how they’ve managed to get this much functionality into a (relatively) small package though, clearly a lot of thought and design has gone into this and that is to be saluted.

  13. marek says:

    that good idea!

  14. Whatnot says:

    Good idea, but in my eyes a poor implementation.
    It should just project a nice arrow and not have the data projected since that you can’t make out anyway while you are moving and while it’s on a coarse surface.

    But perhaps the very poor video is what makes it come across as poor too?

    Anyway I’m sure they can improve it.

  15. alex says:

    wait… it doesn’t appear to be useful as a flashlight, its not bright enough :/

    I think it’d be more effective as a shoulder mounted projector which would then be used hands free. Or a belt buckle goonies style :D

  16. ferdinand says:

    is it me or is the laser to weak to do the job.
    or is it the video to dark and shaky.

    • Sriranjan says:

      I dint have a proper camera. I got my hands to a HD camera for a day and using that the laser intensity was good. Actually I ordered lasers which were 10-20 times more brighter than these but they shipped fake ones! (may be it was a mistake from their size but the projected output would be better if I would have got the proper lasers that I ordered for)

  17. Moose says:

    The reason they made it “bendy” is so that it can compensate for the bobbing of the user to stabilize the projected image. The unfortunate reality is that it doesn’t work well, and won’t ever work well given the inherent lag, so that they should have just made it a stick….

  18. Me Here says:

    Why not just hook up a projector to a garmin? Hey, that’s a good idea. I’ll think I’ll do that.

    • Sriranjan says:

      really good idea..i would done that same if i had a smart phone..

    • Sriranjan says:

      I thank all of you for your valuable and critical comments, suggestions. Especially few good words from you people would keep the bulb in my head ticking..well getting resources, financial support for doing and freedom of using them is wholly another thing which I could not solve till past 4 years of my research..i think mostly i would not be able to build any more in he future because of it..

  19. Shady says:

    More of a false-light than a flashlight. I like the idea, but how am I going to avoid tripping on the crack in the sidewalk at night, unless you add crack detection? The idea is there, just take it down a few notches, it is entirely too complicated for what someone would want or use.

  20. Stu says:

    I dont understand – its not actually a useful flashlight too?
    Seems to me that it should be shining a nice bright spot as well as displaying GPS data, otherwise whats the point in taking it with you at night?
    The first thing I envisaged straight after reading the article title was the bright light with GPS and other info subtracted (info displayed in black effectively), kind of like an lcd panel out of a projector displaying all white save for some small text.
    All in all, great idea, ultra-poor implementation!! The dullness of that green lettering does my head in!

    • Sriranjan says:

      I would use these suggestion to improve the font to make the readability good, use a better camera to record the laser illumination as it should be, use better lasers totally. (but all this is limited due to the resources and my access to them).

  21. Z says:

    Nice project good ideas, still needs some tweaking but very academic. I lol’d at the comments that people don’t understand the language. He was speaking perfectly clear (I’m Canadian eh) don’t forget my American cousins that a billion of people speak English with that accent.

  22. Sriranjan says:

    I thank all of you for your valuable and critical comments, suggestions. Especially few good words from you people would keep the bulb in my head ticking..well getting resources, financial support for doing and freedom of using them is wholly another thing which I could not solve till past 4 years of my research..i think mostly i would not be able to build any more in he future because of it..i do not know where my future is heading to..

  23. Sriranjan says:

    I especially like when Mike (the editor) wrote it is a Sci-Fi device turn reality..if I think of it..yea it is to some extent..

  24. blurb says:

    cool idea to put everthing in a flash light but the concept is not new. Did not Johnny Chung Lee or somebody else a portable projector to find things in boxes?

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