One of the things that I like to do each day is go for a nice long walk. What makes me a little unusual is that I like to do it at night when it is quiet and dark. I typically leave the house about 11 PM and walk for about an hour and a half. My routes vary from night to night but I am most often on sidewalks or on the roadway when there are no sidewalks. Last night as I walked through a particularly dark section of town I caught my boot toe on a piece of raised sidewalk that was not visible in the dark and nearly took a fall. Only a valiant effort that resulted in a couple sore muscles saved me. I always have a flashlight with me but I almost never use it for walking and only bring it out to call attention to my presence when cars approach and I am in the roadway.

 

Today as I reflected on my near fall I decided to design something to make my walks a little safer. To this end I give you "THE BOOT HEADLIGHT"

 

  

 

The boot headlight is more than just a flashlight attached to my boot. It also has a photo-resistor and a comparator so that it is only on when I am in dark areas where the holes and cracks of the sidewalk are not visible. As soon as I step in the light of a street light or as I walk through the downtown area the boot light stays off. The low angle of the light mounted on the boot makes raised parts of the sidewalk show in high contrast. The raised edges that face me as I walk show a bright lines across the path and the edges that face way from me show as shadows. On my test walk tonight, the Boot Headlight worked well and made it easy to avoid dangerous obstacles.

 

Here is the simple schematic for the boot headlight and a closeup of the circuit board and battery strapped to the boot with a velcro band.

 

  

 

The quiescent power drain is 2 mA which rises to 4 mA when the LEDs are lit. I will be taking note of how long I can use it before the battery has to be replaced. While I have put the unit on my boot it could also be strapped to a leg or a belt, though I really like the low angle effect of the light on the sidewalk hazards when it is on the boot..