Remember those silly faux pith safari helmets with the weeny solar panel driving an ineffective fan? Well, the 2CLight might’ve finally found a more functional way to bring photovoltaics to headwear.
Spend the day in the great outdoors, working or recreating, protecting your noggin from the thermonuclear glare of dear old Sol, all the while charging the integrated nickel metal hydride battery, via a flexible solar panel on the caps brim. When the sun dips below the horizon you press a switch under the same brim and Sol’s captured energy is still with you, beaming out via a couple of bright light emitting diode (LED) bulbs.
The 2CLight went through three years of research and development to become commercial and it sounds like it will be highly useful to all manner of outdoors sports enthusiasts and field workers. Contrary to the action photo above the LEDs are designed to angle down and shine about 2 metres ahead of you for effective night walking, and not blind companions when you look them in the face.
The award winning design comes from New Zealand, but with limited international distribution at this stage, they're selling the caps on line for about $35 USD. Three basic styles are on offer, and there is also a winterised version with fake fur ear flaps.
The switch mechanism, and so on, all sound like they’re well thought through. If we have any misgivings it might be that the caps crown is made of either plain old cotton or polyester and the built-in battery will give up the ghost in about three years. Maybe when the 2CLight is a hot selling global phenomena they can justify moving to organic cotton, hemp or recycled polyester, as well as a replaceable battery. ::2CLight, via Mr Gadget.