Thursday, May 08, 2008
Mini maglites were also a big hit. Essentially a AA version of the larger model, mini maglites were a great choice for portability. The fact that they were waterproof and had lots of interesting accessories made them the choice of a generation of outdoor enthusiasts. It was possible to get headbands that could hold these gadgets, as well as special lenses to produce light of different colors. There was even an accessory that made it possible to attach the mini maglite to the handlebars of a bicycle for use as a headlight.
These days, flashlights are even higher tech gadgets. There are solar powered flashlights, and despite the fact that such an oxymoron sounds like a joke, there actually are solar powered flashlights available. They have built in solar cells and use rechargeable batteries. There are also flashlights that can be powered simply by shaking them along the length of their bodies. This is made possible by conductive coils and a magnet that slides up and down along the length of the gadget when shaken. This allows the motion to induce an electrical current that provides a brief- but thankfully battery free- supply of light.
The real innovation in portable gadgets that emit light is the use of the LED. The Light Emitting Diode provides huge advantages over the incandescent bulbs that other models relied on. LED's use less power than incandescents, last a lot longer before burning out, and are much more resistant to shock. The fact that they emit most of their electromagnetic radiation in the visible spectrum- rather than in the form of heat like incandescents- makes LED's the perfect option for long lasting battery powered gadgets that are intended to light the way. This gives the devices that use them battery lives of over thirty hours in some cases.
LED technology has also been largely incorporated into the designs of headlamps in order to enable their users hand free operation. This not only means being able to use these gadgets more easily while cooking, reading, or fixing an broken piece of a tent, but it also means being able to do so without having to buy a separate accessory.
There are a variety of these gadgets available on the market, ranging from the relatively inexpensive and low powered to deluxe versions that are the rivals of incandescents in terms of brightness. Plus, it's even possible to retrofit old maglites with LED's to if you really want to.