So back in aught-five, I bought myself a fancy-ass LED flashlight, the Streamlight ProPolymer Luxeon 4AA. It was pretty hot shit. Three times the brightness of a Mini-Maglite (44 lumens vs. 15) in a smallish size with a 5 hour battery life, plus none of the fragility or beam artifacts of legacy incandescent lights. Not bad at all.
But you know what’s advanced a lot in the last five years? If you guessed that the relevant answer for this purpose is “flashlights,” then you have a fine knack for the obvious.
I just got a fancy new light (4Sevens Quark AA2 Tactical). Compared to that aught-five light, it’s much smaller, uses half the batteries (2 AAs instead of 4 AAs), has a peak brightness that’s like four times higher (206 lumens), and is enormously more efficient at lower brightnesses, such that it can run for 5 hours at 85 lumens. That’s twice the brightness, half the batteries, and the same runtime as my old light.
I know I should be used to rapid improvement from computers, but it never really occurred to me before that LEDs were subject to Moore’s Law. (Technically they’re not. Wikipedia Pete tells me that they’re subject to Haitz’s Law, which is pretty close to the same thing.)
I look forward to buying, ten years from now, a floodlight that runs for 24 hours on a single AAA.