Pioneering Technologies

HDS Systems pioneered the following LED flashlight features:

  • Regulated output of 15 lumens - 1998
  • Synchronous rectification for improved efficiency - 1998
  • Multiple discrete brightnesses - 1998
  • Multilevel rotary dimmer control - 1998
  • Automatic brightness step reduction for dying battery - 1998
  • Extended emergency lighting - 1998
  • Visually even (logarithmic) brightness spacing - 1998
  • Intrinsically safe design and explosion-proof construction - 1998
  • Military type III hard anodize finish - 1998
  • Regulated output of 20 lumens - 1999
  • Tint control for lower brightnesses - 1999
  • Microprocessor-controlled constant current brightness control - 1999
  • Reverse battery protection without diode power penalty - 1999
  • Thermal regulation and management - 1999
  • Microprocessor-controlled constant power brightness control - 2000
  • Microprocessor-controlled multiphase buck/boost topology - 2001
  • Microprocessor-controlled simplified buck/boost topology - 2002
  • Protection for rechargeable batteries - 2002
  • Innovative multi-brightness single-button user interface - 2003
  • Programmable brightness settings - 2003
  • Calibrated brightness - 2003
  • Intelligent pocket light of 30 lumens - 2003
  • Automatic switch lockout and automatic shut-off - 2004
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 60 lumens - 2004
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 85 lumens - 2005
  • Disorienting strobe, emergency strobe and SOS assignable to presets - 2006
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 120 lumens - 2007
  • 1500:1 dynamic range (0.08 to 120 lumens) - 2007
  • 3-stage twisty switch - 2007
  • 100 lumens for 1 hour on a single CR123A battery - 2007
  • Fully automatic detection and protection of Li-ion batteries - 2007
  • Dual red/white output using single emitter - 2007
  • 10,000g impact tolerance - 2008
  • 120 lumens for 1 hour on a single CR123A battery - 2008
  • 2125:1 dynamic range (0.08 to 170 lumens) - 2008
  • Automatic burst mode for extended runtimes on maximum - 2008
  • 140 lumens for 1 hour on a single CR123A battery - 2009
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 200 lumens - 2009
  • 2500:1 dynamic range (0.08 to 200 lumens) - 2009
  • Networked multi-processor controller supporting advanced UIs - 2010
  • Customizable rotary dimmer control system - 2010
  • 2 hours runtime on High before dropping below 50% - 2011
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 250 lumens - 2014
  • 12,500:1 dynamic range (0.02 to 250 lumens) - 2014
  • Advanced tactical interface with rotary brightness control - 2014
  • World's smallest tactical LED flashlight of 325 lumens - 2015
  • 16,250:1 dynamic range (0.02 to 325 lumens) - 2015
  • High color rendering index of 93 typical at 200 lumens - 2015
  • What's next? Watch this space...

The above list provides the year we first implemented and published the feature. To be fair, the seed ideas for some of the features originated from people living all around the world - especially from the caving community. Some ideas were simply borrowed from other industries. For instance, light dimmers have been around for decades so adding a rotary dimming control to an LED flashlight was an obvious thing to do.

A simple idea is likely to occur to a large number of people in a similar situation. A simple idea for a product or feature tends to have very little initial value. Why? Because it can be a long expensive journey from having an idea to getting it into production. The closer to production it is, the more value it has.

Take using LEDs for a flashlight as an example. Anyone who thinks about the design of a flashlight will immediately understand the value of a rugged and efficient light source. Even before practical LEDs became available, it was obvious to lots of people that LEDs should be used to make a flashlight - after they became practical. That was the simple idea. The difficult part was solving all the problems associated with LEDs in order to make practical and affordable flashlights.

The difference between a simple idea and a practical implementation is why the Patent Office requires that patents be: a) novel and b) not obvious to one skilled in the art.

HDS Systems has the honor of being the first company to design, manufacture and sell a high brightness LED flashlight - a flashlight that could equal or exceed the light output and duration of a standard 2 D-cell incandescent flashlight. That original flashlight was fully regulated, had multiple brightness levels, automatically stepped-down in brightness to extend dying batteries while warning the user it was time to change the battery and the flashlight was housed in an aerospace aluminum case protected by military Type 3 hard anodize. The flashlight was powered by a single lithium battery that would drive the high brightness setting for 12 continuous hours at a constant brightness.


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Updated July 2016
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