Why have app / voice controlled flashlights not really emerged yet?

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G0OSE
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Why have app / voice controlled flashlights not really emerged yet?

Everything electronic seems to be leaning to at least some sort of app control or even voice via alexa etc, but flashlights seem to be a bit lagging in this department. I seem to remember posting something about this before, but it was some time ago now. I am a bit of a dinosaur myself alexa wise, but even I cannot deny it’s positive uses, despite it’s down sides.

Much as I love Anduril, I also hate it at times. My memory is not the greatest any more and every now and again I find my lights ‘lost in clicks’ and I don’t know where I am with them and frequently have to come on here and look for a cheat sheet, even then I often find it coinfusing to change to a setting I want.
I would love an app to control some or all of Anduril’s bells and whistles, alongside the button on the light – I’m not suggesting that is lost obviously, but it would be massively more simple to adjust settings, modes, aux colours etc with a simple touch of a phone screen. For example you want lightening mode, you want to change the colour, brightness of the aux leds at bed time you just do a couple of touches on an app, maybe a colour wheel type affair.
I found this ancient video on youtube from 2018, so nearly 4 years later you’d assume it would be well doable by now.


Looks like LED Lenser had a go at it too a year later -

I’d happily pay more for such a feature, and if needs be the light be a little bit bigger (though how technology has moved on, the physical size of bluetooth modules or voice control modules etc) I’d imagine it needn’t be much bigger anyway.
I was doing some work just yesterday fitting a new kitchen extractor and the old ducting was all greasy and I didn’t really want to touch my head light, how useful it would have been to be able to say ‘flashlight full power’ and it do it hands free……
An ‘antilost’ feature could also be possibly built in, as I and a few others for sure have lost their lights for some time, and some never found them.
What are your thoughts on it? I can’t see any minus points tbh, just plusses.
Edited by: G0OSE on 12/31/2021 - 05:30
Dreaming_
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Maybe the CIA figures it has enough bugs in people’s houses via smart devices etc already, so the people who usually would fund these things haven’t bothered yet. I mean, that’s a guess, but it’s probably accurate on some level.

G0OSE
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Dreaming_ wrote:
Maybe the CIA figures it has enough bugs in people’s houses via smart devices etc already, so the people who usually would fund these things haven’t bothered yet. I mean, that’s a guess, but it’s probably accurate on some level.

I’m not so fussed about having voice control, but the app control would be very useful for me.
You are being tracked all day every day to some extent, by who and what i’m not going to get into, but that’s the world we live in and to be honest, the cons are far outweighed by the pro’s. I don’t say I like it, but I do like the features and convenience smart tech offers. At the end of the day if things like that worry people, just don’t buy it is the only answer, but it is to some ends unavoidable if you want a modern phone and you are missing out on some really cool tech, at least that’s what I think.
Most of the older generation like myself don’t like it , being possibly ‘watched or listened in to’ but the younger generation, well, they are sold lol! I came to the conclusion one day I was missing out by being so worried, and it turned out I was right.
m03da
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Oh no. Oh no no no. No way I’m getting a mainstream smartphone and signing up for an online ‘service’ just to be able to use all features of my hypothetical flashlight, which is exactly what would happen. Screw the app economy and the concept of hardware as a service. It’s only a way for manufacturers to retain factual ownership over stuff you buy, you’re merely a tenant and it’s up to the manufacturer to decide to kill or restrict or paywall features unilaterally.

Not to mention the fact that whatever is phone-controlled requires you to keep two devices with you and charged up.

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And then you need another account to use your flashlight, right?
For the initial setup for complex UIs like Anduril – yes, fine, could use the USB Port as well for lights with charger built in.
But after that? Even if you have 20 possible modes, you basically only unse maybe 2 of them? With Anduril I only use the ramping, what else do I need?

The problem for me is, that a “Smart” Flashlight would cost at least 30$ more just for that feature.

Voice control – I don’t think that’s useful, but if I think about a smartwatch and you can choose certain modes on that watch for your headlight for example, that would be quite a bit better and faster, especially if you need different light colors or a fast way to get from 100% to 2% intensity.

G0OSE
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m03da wrote:
Oh no. Oh no no no. No way I’m getting a mainstream smartphone and signing up for an online ‘service’ just to be able to use all features of my hypothetical flashlight, which is exactly what would happen. Screw the app economy and the concept of hardware as a service. It’s only a way for manufacturers to retain factual ownership over stuff you buy, you’re merely a tenant and it’s up to the manufacturer to decide to kill or restrict or paywall features unilaterally.

Not to mention the fact that whatever is phone-controlled requires you to keep two devices with you and charged up.


Nowhere did I suggest anything like that…… I said alongside, I even put it in bold. Funny how people see what they want to see, yet ignore what is actually written in front of them…..
I suggested if you didn’t want to use an app you would not ‘have’ to, and you wouldn’t need to have both near you fully charged no more than you do now. I see no reason why a manufaturer would do away with a button control and only app control, it would be plain stupid and not popular.

Perhaps slow down and properly read what you are commenting on eh? Smile

m03da
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I’ve read your post and understood your intended meaning, I’m stating what I’m convinced manufacturers would make of the concept, since I’ve seen it happen many times with different classes of hardware.

G0OSE
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m03da wrote:
I’ve read your post and understood your intended meaning, I’m stating what I’m convinced manufacturers would make of the concept, since I’ve seen it happen many times with different classes of hardware.

Fair enough Thumbs Up
I wouldn’t want and exclusively app controlled flashlight with no switch to control it either – and I doubt anyone would which is why I don’t think anyone would consider making such an item.
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I would be happy to be able to telnet into the light to be able to change the settings.

As for being tracked, I do agree. Our IP address is being recorded somewhere right now.

As for alexa or whatever its called, Bezos can keep it.

m03da
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Commercial post-consumer dystopia aside, serial-over-bluetooth to control Andúril or simial FOSS light FW could probably be doable but there are caveats such as BT module parasitic drain (we don’t like parasitic drain around here), BT module size and the need for an RF window in the usually all metal, waterproof light body.

It could probably be done but myself I’m sceptical of the actual benefit. It won’t make the light brighter or more efficient but add a layer of complexity that could take away from the lights’ reliability.

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You say you can’t see any minus points. Exactly what headlight were you using that you needed to go to full power under a kitchen sink. Obviously a pretty wimpy one that didn’t cost a whole lot and is not made of metal and is not waterproof. If it is made of metal and it’s waterproof,,, it’s not Bluetooth compatible. So there are plenty of negatives trying to make it Bluetooth compatible. Also you need to be within range of your constantly on listening device such as your Alexa or your Google speaker. Because you wouldn’t want to touch your phone with your greasy hands any more than you’d want to touch your flashlight. So there’s all kinds of problems here with very limited use.

You can't compare the big flashlight in the sky to the little flashlight in your hand.

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That is funny, I was just planing building a voice controlled light for recent O/L challenge and ordered parts but unfortunately didn't get all components on time to include in by project.
Since I wave 2 different channels. Controlling both leds is tricky and requires strange combination of clicks, so I figures out voice control can solve this issue.
After some research I choose the Voice Recognition Module V3 by Elechouse. I got it some time ago but had no time yet to play with it.
Some downsides I already aware of are:
1. It needs 5v so requires some DCDC converter from Li cell
2. It is not compatible with attiny so a bigger MCU is needed.

I will update as soon as I figure out how to use it 
 

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YuvalS wrote:

That is funny, I was just planing building a voice controlled light for recent O/L challenge and ordered parts but unfortunately didn’t get all components on time to include in by project.
Since I wave 2 different channels. Controlling both leds is tricky and requires strange combination of clicks, so I figures out voice control can solve this issue.
After some research I choose the Voice Recognition Module V3 by Elechouse. I got it some time ago but had no time yet to play with it.
Some downsides I already aware of are:
1. It needs 5v so requires some DCDC converter from Li cell
2. It is not compatible with attiny so a bigger MCU is needed.

I will update as soon as I figure out how to use it 
 

Nice project YuvalS, I’d be interested to see how that turns out for you! Thumbs Up

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i personally do not want to futz with my phone to get light

by the time i can get it out, and get it in the right mode, i could have also found my flashlight and switched it on

also the phone itself has a (bad) flashlight

it;s the same reason i wear a watch – it is just better actually checking the time than looking at the phone

wle

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wle wrote:
i personally do not want to futz with my phone to get light

by the time i can get it out, and get it in the right mode, i could have also found my flashlight and switched it on

wle

At no point was that the suggestion wle. Smile the idea was the light would function as a normal light but be able to be adjusted on an app too, if the user wanted to.

m03da
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wle wrote:

also the phone itself has a (bad) flashlight

it;s the same reason i wear a watch – it is just better actually checking the time than looking at the phone

It’s not the idea behind this thread but I just wanted to say that I very much share this sentiment, that devices that seek to replace multiple dedicated devices feel like collections of compromise. Phone sucks at telling the time at a glance, sucks at being a light, usually sucks at playing music and it’s why I wear a nice watch, carry a torch and there’s a Rockboxed Sansa player in my bag. Plus if one runs out of charge I can still use the rest. When your phone dies and it’s all you have, sucks to be you.

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G0OSE wrote:

At no point was that the suggestion wle. Smile the idea was the light would function as a normal light but be able to be adjusted on an app too, if the user wanted to.

On an app controlled by what? Again you have to be within range of your constantly on listening device for an app to work by voice. Are you going to tell us what headlight you were using?

You can't compare the big flashlight in the sky to the little flashlight in your hand.

wle
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foursevens had this at least 5 years ago

app controlled lights

i would have got one, before anduril etc, but the lights themselves were very expensive, and used cells i did not agree with

it may have been the ‘preon’ model

bluetooth control is not that expensive or hard, yet it seems to have failed market tests

you may want to research what foursevens did, to see if it could be improved

wle

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on another note, actual voice control by just the light[no phone involved] is probably beyond any processor that you would want on a flashlight

ie too many resources, too expensive, too much battery, too many peripherals needed [making light too big, battery life short, ]

it would practically have to run android to have decent voice

just food for thought
i could be wrong
but it takes a lot of fast processing to do voice

wle

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Do you really want a device listening 24/7 what’s around? lol

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sp5it wrote:
Do you really want a device listening 24/7 what’s around? lol

NO

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
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wle wrote:
on another note, actual voice control by just the light[no phone involved] is probably beyond any processor that you would want on a flashlight

There actually are dedicated voice recognition chips if you’re fine with finite set of commands and don’t require the ‘natural conversational control’ of Al(l hearing)exas and similar.

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A while back I’ve actually drunk-impulse-bought a voice controlled multimeter for the meme. It’s a shitty meter and it cost like 20€ but the voice recognition actually works as advertised. But, and this would apply to a torch as well, I wouldn’t ever want to be seen voice-controlling a meter (or a torch) at an actual job site or in public in general.

wle
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m03da wrote:
wle wrote:
on another note, actual voice control by just the light[no phone involved] is probably beyond any processor that you would want on a flashlight

There actually are dedicated voice recognition chips if you’re fine with finite set of commands and don’t require the ‘natural conversational control’ of Al(l hearing)exas and similar.

so how could that be part of a flashlight design?

would you just say “execute A” and A does light function 1?

how much current at what voltage do those use?

guessing they need 5V

wle

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wle wrote:
m03da wrote:
wle wrote:
on another note, actual voice control by just the light[no phone involved] is probably beyond any processor that you would want on a flashlight

There actually are dedicated voice recognition chips if you’re fine with finite set of commands and don’t require the ‘natural conversational control’ of Al(l hearing)exas and similar.

so how could that be part of a flashlight design?

would you just say “execute A” and A does light function 1?

how much current at what voltage do those use?

guessing they need 5V

wle

can we get the OP started on his design somehow?

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wle
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what happened with the lenser light or app, or whatever that was in the first post?

"You never have the wind with you - it's either against you, or you're having a good day."
    Daniel Behrman, "The Man Who Loved Bicycles".
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m03da
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wle wrote:

so how could that be part of a flashlight design?

would you just say “execute A” and A does light function 1?

how much current at what voltage do those use?

guessing they need 5V

wle

No idea on electrics, I’ve never used them in my designs nor felt the need, I don’t like talking computers nor talking to computers.

But I could see commands like ‘turn on’, ‘switch to flood’, ‘switch to throw’, ‘brightness up’, ‘brightness down’ etc.

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m03da wrote:
Oh no. Oh no no no. No way I’m getting a mainstream smartphone and signing up for an online ‘service’ just to be able to use all features of my hypothetical flashlight, which is exactly what would happen. Screw the app economy and the concept of hardware as a service. It’s only a way for manufacturers to retain factual ownership over stuff you buy, you’re merely a tenant and it’s up to the manufacturer to decide to kill or restrict or paywall features unilaterally.

Not to mention the fact that whatever is phone-controlled requires you to keep two devices with you and charged up.

m03da wrote:
I’ve read your post and understood your intended meaning, I’m stating what I’m convinced manufacturers would make of the concept, since I’ve seen it happen many times with different classes of hardware.

My thoughts exactly.

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tactical_grizzly wrote:
My thoughts exactly.

A bear to bear kind of understanding. I love it.

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