The numbers don't lie: In 2012, 4,628 construction workers were killed on the job from a number of hazards—falls, scaffold collapse, electric shock, failure to use proper personal equipment. Pensar and Illumagear took note of that last threat and got to work.
The HALO Light is an LED light ring that attaches to a number of hard hat styles for increased visibility—and the Professional Winner in the Equipment category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards. Take note of that universal fit mention, because according to the designers it wasn't an easy task. "Attaching to any hard hat quickly and easily was a serious challenge," says Pensar's Creative Director Alex Diener. "We evaluated 50+ hardhats to ensure the Halo fits almost any hard hat. The most popular hard hats were scanned and brought into CAD. We held cross-disciplinary brainstorms to explore many options—from ratcheting bands and elastic straps to cam systems. A trial-and-error process of iterative model making followed. There were many failures, but it refined our approach and priorities: simple, no tools and fast to install/remove."
Check out the light in action:
Unlike other single-sourced headlamps, the HALO light provides visibility on all sides of a worker. "The visual of a halo automatically gives the idea of protection," Diener says. "Early on we explored segmented designs but realized there is a distinctness to the unbroken halo that helps to distinguish this light as 'on a human' rather than one of the myriad of other lights on the worksite." Take a look at this side-by-side comparison for a better look at what Illumagear is bringing to the table in terms of keeping things illuminated:
Just like any other noteworthy design, HALO didn't 'wake up like this,' so to speak. The team's attention to customer feedback has fueled most of the changes in HALO's design. "We are closely connected with customers and their feedback drives many of the changes we make," Diener says. "For example, the cable that attaches the battery pack and the HALO has been updated to have a softer feel with easier bending keeping out of the way when working. We're also looking at going from six clips (that hold The HALO Light to the hard hat) to four. What we've found so far is that this may actually provide better hold on more hard hats."
Like with any occupation, it's hard to visualize the daily hazards of a construction site without actually experiencing it. The design team dove into the industry for firsthand experience in order to create the prototypes and final version of HALO. But figuring out the functionalities workers needed in a headlamp wasn't the most challenging aspect of the task at hand: finding a perfect balance between the rugged appeal of a construction site and technology was.
Our focus was to design a product that imbued both tool and technology. It had to appear both high-tech and rugged. While these two things can appear contrary at first—and it wasn't easy—combining them led us to a richer solution. To emphasize technology we focused on the light. Part of this was reducing the housing as much as possible to highlight the light itself. That wasn't the challenging part. We then trid to get the light to appear continuous and constant—this was far more difficult. We tried many films, textures and materials for the lensing, as well as different LED configurations and types. We created a test set-up and tweaked and tuned and tried again until we had a light profile that had the performance we were after.
This futuristic light ring then needed to be encased in an ultra-rugged shell. To emphasize durability we focused on making the housing, connections extra robust, dirt-friendly and water resistant. Ultimately we arrived at a solution that provides high-performance safety and will be a trusted tool for construction professionals for years to come.
If you're still not convinced about HALO's durability or fit, check out the intense abuse—we're talking drive-over tests and long falls—the team put the design through. It'll turn almost anyone into a believer:
Check out a full list of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards honorees here.