Hardware

Fogo’s Smart Flashlight Is The Swiss Army Knife Of Personal Lighting

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Today at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield at CES 2015, Fogo Digital showed off the prototype of its smart flashlight, a tool that will offer everything from GPS to Bluetooth once it comes to market.

Fogo intends to launch the device on Kickstarter in the near future, selling various editions of the flashlight at separate price points — adding GPS, for example, will cost more.

The ability to sell Fogo’s flashlight in different formulations matters for the company as it will help it attract a more diverse client base, but also because swap-ability is key to its design. In time, the company expects to build more than 10 different “smart caps” that can be removed, and replaced with caps that have different functionality.

Imagine swapping out your radio, for a different connectivity device, for example, while backpacking.

I asked Fogo how large it felt its market was, and the company noted that the military and law enforcement spaces are just two markets it sees a place for its product. It also told me that it sees its device as a viable tool for the casual hiker, a person who might not want to buy a separate GPS, flashlight, and other tools when they could instead pick up and pack a single device.

Finally on the feature side, the flashlight will eventually be able to accept small applications that can be loaded onto the device. Fogo likened this feature to applications built for the Pebble platform during a phone call. Everything wants to be a platform these days, but I could imagine a map app for the device that you could use to bring your planned topography with you in digital form on a longer trek. Users will be able to create their own apps, the company told TechCrunch.

In its current form, the prototype weighs a lean 9 ounces with batteries, and 7 ounces without. The company is currently ironing out the remaining small kinks in its design, and prepping it for scale manufacturing. Its battery should be able to withstand a week of light use, and will accept commercially available batteries that can be changed in the field.

To date, the company has yet to raise capital, instead leaning on bootsrapping to fund its early work.

Fogo has a fun vision to take a standard consumer device, and pack it full of intelligence and capability. The question is whether it is the next multitool, or toaster-refrigerator.

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