HexBright Flex with rechargeable battery and USB cable: $60 by preorder / $89.99 after launch
There may be numerous variations out there on the standard flashlight theme, but most have a limited set of features. Enter the HexBright Flex, a flashlight that's built using open-source technology and can be programmed by users.
The HexBright Flex is a powerful LED flashlight with a maximum light output of 500 lumens. It features a body machined out of one-inch aluminum hex bar stock. Default modes on the 5.25-inch-long device include high, medium, low and blinking, but a mini-USB plug allows users to upload their own source code directly to its Atmel ATmega integrated circuit. Unused pins in the device, in fact, even allow additional hardware or sensors to run with it, such as speakers or photocell sensors. The USB can also recharge the light.
But how to use it? How about bolting a HexBright to an airplane’s tail and blinking out call numbers in Morse code, or programming one to just the perfect reading light level so as not to disturb a sleeping spouse? Inventor Christian Carlberg says, “Who knows what will happen? There are a lot of crazy people out there.”