Back in 1972, Petzl invented the headlamp which puts a torch light on your head so your hands are free to do other work whether you’re changing a tire, clearing obstacles in the jungle or fixing tube lights in the basement. This year, they’re innovating further on that innovation with the NAO Headlamp, a noggin-strapped torch light that self-adjusts the lighting based on what it detects you need.
It sports two sets of LED lights: one with a wide beam and one with a spot function. Instead of waiting for you to choose which ones to activate, it does the picking autonomously using a variety of built-in sensors they call the reactive lighting system.
When it detects you looking forward (like when hiking up a trail), the NAO Headlamp measures the ambient lighting and adjusts the beam for optimal performance (taking both visibility and battery life into account). The spot light can fire up to a maximum of 355 lumens, so you can see far off into the distance. Once you look down (like when checking your GPS), the wide beam takes the lead, keeping the illumination within the small area your attention is focused on.
The rig includes a rechargeable battery that’s strapped in a case on the side of the headband opposite the lighting unit. In case that runs out (maximum runtime is 8 hours), you can also use a pair of AAA batteries as backup.
The NAO Headlamp is slated to be available in July, priced at $175.