A newly registered patent suggests how future Garmin watches could have super smart flashlights that do a lot more than make you visible to other road and trail users. The Garmin Fenix 7X and Enduro 2 have LED flashlights built into the upper portion of their housing that can provide a steady beam, flashing light, or pulse in time with your steps, but the new documentation describes how next-gen watches could do much more.
Document US 20220338325 A1, which can be viewed via the US Patents and Tradesmarks Office (opens in new tab), explains how movement of the wearer's wrist could be used to activate different lights (one as the arm moves forward and another as it moves back), as well as various other functions. For example, the flashlight could be used to communicate an SOS message and attract attention in an emergency, much like the alarm feature of the Apple Watch Ultra.
It's possible that future Garmin watches may also have flashlights that adapt dynamically depending on your location or pace. "Thus, for instance, the number of light emitting elements may illuminate more brightly, with different colors, and/or at an increased frequency, as the user's speed increases," says the application
"In examples where the wrist-wearable electronic device includes a cartographic database, the user's position may additionally or alternatively be used to control operation of the number of light emitting elements. For example, the wrist-wearable electronic device may illuminate more brightly, with different colors, and/or at an increased frequency as the user approaches densely-populated areas, travels along a road, etc."
The Fenix 7X and Enduro 2's flashlights are activated by double-pressing the backlight button at the top left of the case, but the patent application suggests that future watches could have lights that are switched on via gestures on a touch-sensitive bezel, or via widgets on the watch face.
The Garmin Enduro 2's flashlight is one of its standout features. It's much brighter than that of the Fenix 7X, and worked brilliantly when I took it for a test through a dark mile-long tunnel. It's great to see that the company is planning how it can develop it in future, particularly to keep runners and hikers safer.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).
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