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this page is still under construction, but feel free to have a look around so long as you don't mind the mess :-)

Background

The Headlantern is the seed that eventually grew into what is now the Earthworm Project. I began working on it in my free time in the Spring of 2016 and have continued developing it ever since.

 

It was inspired by a frustration I’ve experienced with my headlamp while camping and backpacking over the years.

 

Since everything that I bring with me on the trail has to be carried on my back, the motto “pack light, pack right” drives my decision-making when deciding what to pack.

 

When it comes to lighting, this means I nearly always choose my headlamp over bulkier options such as flashlights and lanterns. Its compact size makes it the most appealing option. And its hands-free functionality makes tasks like setting up my tent or answering nature’s call in the dark a breeze.

 

While the headlamp is great for completing individualistic tasks, I’ve found that its specialized design falls short during communal activities, which are a large part of what motivates me to spend time outdoors.

 

Things like playing cards and cooking dinner with friends - These are what I look forward to most when I hit the trail. Escaping to places where cell signals can’t find you means you get to spend quality time with the people you care about, uninterrupted by the digital dings and buzzes of daily life.

 

But it’s during these communal activities that the headlamp’s specialized design leaves a lot to be desired.

 

For example, when my friends and I play cards, we’ll sometimes hang the headlamp above us from a tree branch. But the light beam that the headlamp emits is so direct and focused that it only illuminates a small part of our game, making it hard to see our cards or each other. 

 

Sometimes when we’re playing we’ll wear our headlamps properly so that we can see better, but that results in all of us being blinded whenever we look at each other, making any sort of eye contact almost impossible.

 

Since light plays such an important role in human connection and comfort, it’s always bugged me that headlamps are designed in a way that works against the core values that motivate me to spend time in Nature.

 

One night while camping, I asked myself, “Why couldn’t a headlamp also emit a softer, more diffused glow? One that’s similar to a campfire or a lantern?”

 

After some R&D, the Headlantern was born. 

 

why can't one do both?

objective:

design a personal lighting solution that offers the functionality of a headlamp and the intimacy of a campfire.

 

sacrifices performance to offer dual-functionality

insights from existing solutions

requires secondary accessory

Initial Direction

User Experience Rationale

From an end user perspective, this solution is the best integrated and leaves the least opportunity for product failure.

Business Rationale

This concept most closely resembles the architecture of existing headlamps, so it’d be easy for an  established brand to integrate the concept into their product line.

Manufacturing Rationale

 

When taking into account factors like mold complexity and assembly methods, this solution is the most feasible to put into production.

Works-Like Version 1.0

 

Objectives

  • validate product architecture

  • build understanding of electronic requirements

  • test against competitive products

  • identify areas for improvement in construction and user experience

Tolerance testing to ensure the telescoping mechanism has a tight, clean fit and transition between lighting modes.

To test the hinge concept, I 3D-printed molds to cast silicone parts.

Soldering electronics and assembling Works-Like Prototype 1.0

Design for Manufacture Review
Works-Like Prototype 1.0 Insights

Keep

  • product architecture is promising

  • moment of interaction that stood out during testing was when users saw light transition from headlamp to lantern mode "delightful surprise"

  • white plastic works well as diffuser

Change

  • too much light shines out of lens in lantern mode

  • size feels large compared to other headlamps

  • body (not diffuser) glows too much while in lantern mode

  • switch cover could be better integrated

Explore

 

  • head panel attachment options

  • ways to hang while in lantern mode

  • various material diffusion properties

Works-Like Version 1.0

 

Objectives

  • reduce glow from body while in lantern mode

    • shrink lens​

    • use opaque top panel instead of translucent

    • place lens above top panel instead of below

  • test opaque and transparent diffusers

  • integrate switch cover into gasket design

  • ideate strap adjustment hooks

  • increase LED lumens from 90 to 200

Works-Like Prototype 2.0 Insights

Keep

  • opaque top panel reduces body glow in HL mode. also reduces direct light to user's eyes in lantern mode

  • gasket concept shows promise

  • strap adjustment hooks work well, refine

  • placing lens above, rather than below, top panel reduces lens glow in lantern mode considerably

  • 200-lumen LED is considerable improvement from 90-lumen

Change

  • further reduce body glow in HL mode

  • design gasket to be more robust

  • design head panel to be more robust

  • refine head panel ratchet mech

  • design closure mech to be more robust

Explore

 

  • ways to attach lantern to various objects (straps, cameras, bags, etc.)

  • head panel as a hanging solution

Works-Like Version 3.0

 

Objectives

  • improve gasket construction so that it's more robust

  • iterate and test head panel hanging solutions

  • refine ratchet mech

  • refine closure mech

  • explore ways to reduce product footprint/size

Works-Like Prototype 3.0 Insights

Keep

  • Glow-in-the-dark ring

  • More robust gasket

  • Refined base design

  • Strap adjustment hooks

  • Secondary red LED

Change

  • Further reduce body glow in HL mode

  • Build gasket using more flexible material

  • Use white, rather than translucent diffuser

  • Use dark top panel instead of white

Explore

 

  • Ways to integrate the glow-in-the-dark feature

  • New ways to easily
    detach strap for lantern mode

Polarized Layering

Polarized films on the parts block light when overlapping each other, but allow light to pass through when in lantern mode. From what I learned, it seems that applying this concept would mean only 50% of light can pass through - requires more expertise.

Opaque Shell

Making the external body opaque would block light when covering the internal column. However it would also reduce diffusion materials by half, so it’s not an ideal solution.

Light Gasket

Designing a seal that sits beneath the lens would surround the LED when in headlamp mode, sealing in the light so that the only place it can escape is through the lens.

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more to come :-)