Pensar + Illumagear
- All the jurors agree that this product is spot-on; it is clever and simple and solves a real need.
- The way this idea is executed is brilliant- it’s high level of functionality and straightforward interface allows it to easily integrate into the daily routine of a worker.
- Though simple, the final solution takes into consideration various usage scenarios. Where some may have stopped at the iconic halo of light this entrant continues to add various lighting modes to suit the task at hand.
The Halo Light™ is a 360° LED light ring that attaches to any hard hat and produces a light of halo enabling the wearer to see and be seen in all directions at all times. There are four modes, Halo, Hi-Alert, Task and Dim. The Halo Light is powered by a rechargeable battery that clips to a belt or pocket and is tethered to the Halo via a flexible cable with a safety release connection. The Halo Light is an active safety system, going above and beyond existing reflective (passive) solutions. It enables workers to both see and be seen.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Working construction at night is dangerous and difficult. Every year, more than 200,000 workers are injured on construction sites in the US. In 2012 there were 775 fatalities. (OSHA/USBLS statistics)
Challenges of low-visibility high-risk worksites:
• Workers can't see what they're doing
• Heavy equipment operators can't see workers
• Traffic can't see workers
• Underground workers can't see without lighting set ups
• When you're off the ground working on bridges, etc. getting the light where needed is a challenge
To a great degree, safety products in the construction field have been focused primarily on passive rather than active alerts. The problem with passive alerts like retroreflective clothing is they are only as effective as the external light source reflecting them.
Our solution had to succeed where current products fail:
• Have 12 hr. battery life (a full shift)
• Ensure workers are visible from all sides
• Be bright enough to be seen ¼ mile away (unlike headlamps or reflective clothing)
• Light workers’ periphery
• Require no secondary light source to illuminate (unlike reflective clothing)
• Move with the worker including underground and off the ground (unlike current worksite lights)
• Not cast the worker’s own shadow on his work area (unlike current worksite lights)
• Be rugged enough for construction sites and high quality (unlike headlamps)
• Be energy efficient (unlike current worksite lighting)
Our focus on users and what they need led to many of the intuitive solutions on The Halo Light. The one-button interface for example. Simply pressing the button cycles through four modes – Halo (360° light), Hi-Alert (a bright pulse circles the head), Task (brighter light is focused towards the front 1/3 of the Halo), and Dim (for working next to someone). Holding the button for 2 seconds turns the unit off.
The Halo Light may be a personal purchase, or a company may provide them for employees, which meant the units needed to be quick and easy to put on at the beginning of a shift and take off at the end. We made the system easy to put on and take off any hard hat with a simple push on/pull off method that still holds tight to the hardhat.
We brought the concept of "light as brand" to the project. By reducing the structure around the light we are able to draw the focus to the light itself. The distinctive 360° halo effect is emphasized by the slim bands of plastic above and below which transition to a thicker area at the back which houses the electronics. As you move further away the housing becomes invisible, leaving only the halo of light - visible from more than ¼ mile away.
ILLUMAGEAR came to us with a rough prototype they had already started field testing. We were tasked with transforming it into an intuitive, effective product. A highly collaborative approach was taken on this project, combining our team, the ILLUMAGEAR team, and construction workers as test participants across the US, Canada, and Australia.
The user research and testing for The Halo Light is extensive and continual. A more complete list of field tests conducted to date, can be found here: http://www.illumagear.com/products/case-studies. There have been, and continue to be, units in the field across the US and Canada. Testing has included paving inspectors, traffic controllers, flaggers, laborers, carpenters, electricians, iron workers, and project engineers. By conducting site visits and long-distance field tests we gained deep insight into what The Halo Light both needed and didn’t need. User feedback helped us design the modes, the easy on/off attachment method, and the cabling.
Key user considerations:
Modes of operation
Attachment to helmet
What's it like to wear this thing?
Balance between being seen and not blinding the person next to you
Key business considerations:
IP 67 rating makes it easier to sell
LED optimization for cost vs. output and efficiency
Construction sites are tough on equipment. The Halo Light is rugged enough to withstand the mud, dust, drops and downpours (drop tested and IP 67 rating). The cable linking the battery pack to the halo is attached via extremely rugged strain-reliefs. The safety release connection is designed to be strong during normal use, but detach if the cable becomes stuck on something. It provides enough grip to be detached while wearing thick work gloves.
Abuse testing - The same unit was put through a series of tests to ensure its survival on a construction worksite:
1. Submersion for one minute in slurry (water + remnants of concrete mixing)
2. Stomping it in the mud
3. Dropping it from a 2 story window, and then a 3 story window
4. Setting a heavy tool box onto it
5. Running over it with a Jeep
At the end, the unit functioned normally and had very little cosmetic damage. The videos can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ILLUMAGEAR
The Halo Light allows the wearer to see and be seen. Construction workers in low-visibility situations can be practically invisible to passing motorists and heavy equipment operators. The Halo Light's 360° illumination makes it easy to distinguish an individual even at a distance. It goes beyond passive safety and provides the wearer with an active safety system they can adjust to their needs.
The Halo Light also illuminates a worker’s task area and any hidden dangers (holes, steps, cables, etc.) in their periphery. It’s lightweight, extremely rugged and easily attaches to any hard hat in about a second. Simplicity and ease of use makes it immediately useable by anyone, right out of the box.
By enabling the wearer to see and be seen, the Halo light makes a dangerous job safer and the task at hand easier.