To paraphrase an old industrial design saying, I'd argue that no one wants a flashlight; what people want is convenient portable illumination. In the quest to provide it, designers have experimented with different form factors over the decades. Each brings its own UX drawbacks:
- Flashlight: Ties up one hand.
- Portable task light: Difficult to set up close enough to be useful, while far enough to be out of your way without casting shadows on the work.
- Headlamp: Incompatible with certain types of headgear, blinds anyone you look at.
The latest form factor to gain ubiquity is the wearable neck light. Unthinkable in the age of D-batteries and incandescent bulbs, lightweight LEDs and batteries have made the form viable; everyone from Milwaukee to Snap-On to an army of electronics companies you've never heard of makes one.
At least two companies, Snap-On and a company called PowerSmith, make a neck light with an interesting feature: The lights themselves are essentially mini-flashlights that attach magnetically, and can be popped on and off. (Here we're showing PowerSmith's 300-lumen offering, primarily because Snap-On PR's visual media assets game is lacking. But read the caveat* below.)
The magnets on the butt end of the lights are mounted in a ball joint, allowing you to adjust their angle.
You can of course attach the lights to anything magnetic.
The rechargeable batteries are within the lights themselves, meaning each needs to be charged. Hence this unusual dual charging cable:
In a pinch it can be worn on the head, though this runs into the potentially-incompatible-headgear issue you might have with headlamps. There's also no telling how easy it is or isn't on your ears.
To be clear, I'm not recommending you buy a PowerSmith unit; I'm just commenting on the design. One of PowerSmith's signature products is an ash vacuum, which received a poor review in this Chicago Tribune comparison; the unit suffers from an overheating problem. PowerSmith has been around for over 20 years, which is long enough to figure out how to build a proper product, so I'd consider this a quality control issue that makes me suspicious of the brand.
Join over 240,000 designers who stay up-to-date with the Core77 newsletter.
Test it out; it only takes a single click to unsubscribe