Friday, 20 January 2012

Petzl NAO - the future of head torches?

© Petzl
RRP: £135

Petzl's latest headtorch has been announced; the Petzl NAO will be available from July 2012....but what is it?

Petzl's new NAO headtorch features a heads-up sensor at the front that adapts the light output of the headtorch according to what is required. For example scanning the horizon will result in the headtorch adapting to maximum output and maximum concentration, whilst looking at a map will cause the torch to reduce output and increase beam width. From Petzl's website:

"REACTIVE LIGHTING technology is a revolution in hands-free lighting. A built-in light sensor adapts the headlamp's beam pattern and light output instantly and automatically to suit the user's needs. This means the user gets an ideal amount of light with minimal manual adjustment required. This self-adjusting lighting mode also results in longer burn times, due to more efficient use of the rechargeable battery"

The diagram to the left from the Petzl site illustrates how the torch functions. The light sensor on the torch detects what light level is required, close range wide beams where needed and long range concentrated beams where needed. The result? Minimum adjustment needed, and maximum battery life. The torch weighs a respectable 187g - not the lightest but definitely a good power/weight ratio. The Nao also picks up where the Petzl Core left off - with USB charging (2300mAh Lithium Ion battery), however this can be supplemented with AAA batteries if required. The official Petzl press release is below:

The Petzl NAO is a new-generation head torch that represents a genuine step forward in hands-free lighting.
The NAO uses Petzl's innovative Reactive Lighting technology, providing light that automatically adapts to your environment. A sensor constantly monitors reflected light from your direction of vision and adapts the head torch output accordingly. This means there is no need to manually adjust brightness when switching between close or distant objects. The dual benefit is automatic optimisation of battery output, giving extended burn times. The Petzl Nao gives you the right light when you need it – automatically.
One of the big problems with today's head torches is the relationship between high-performance LED power consumption and battery capacity. The choices are limited; either unregulated light, giving rapidly diminishing light output, or regulated output where maximum power is only available for relatively short periods.
Petzl's Reactive Lighting technology allows your battery to optimise its output, only providing the power you need for the environment you are operating in. The result is that battery life can last at least three times longer than it would do under constant full power*.
The Petzl Nao features a front headset with twin LEDS and sensor, linked to the rear-mounted battery by the new Zephyr cord-lock headband. The battery is a 2300 mAh lithium-ion unit, rechargeable via an integrated USB plug. There is a belt kit version for the battery, plus a detachable top strap for additional stability when running.
Lighting is controlled via a large rotating on/off switch, which can be locked in the 'off' position. The switch allows the user to choose between Reactive Lighting or Static modes, with high/low output options in each. Static lighting gives a fixed output (non-reactive).
In Reactive Lighting mode the headset uses a single high-output LED in a wide-angled beam. In Static mode the headset uses both the wide-angled beam and a second high-output LED configured for a focused beam. Maximum power output is 355 lumens. Performance profiles can be customised via Petzl's OS 2.0 on your computer.
For 'emergency use', the battery pack will accept 2 x conventional AAA batteries. UK RSP will be £135.00.
*Required output will of course depend on ambient light and the pattern of your usage, ie how much you switch between near/far objects.
© Petzl
So what do I think? I think this looks really cool, Petzl have produced a new unique system that really does have potential for being a useful addition to a climbers arsenal. A torch that can adapt to reduce output when looking close to the crag placing gear, then increase output as you look up the route, all without fiddling around with dials and buttons, is a genuinely useful idea! However Petzl have included an override function for those people who prefer to be more in control! The Petzl OS 2.0 software can be used to fine tune the unit making it even more efficient, this is another nice little feature included by Petzl. Lets hope that it lives up to expectations! But thumbs up to Petzl for a unique and innovate idea! 

Petzl also released a short video accompanying the press release, (see below) enjoy!

1 comment:

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