Local runner designs ultimate running gear: voice-activated headlamp and camera, GPS and stat collector, and beanie/headband all in one

The Convertible HDL, as a headlamp.

by Mike Haedrich, inventor of the Convertible HDL and founder of PRracer.com One of my other roles is Editor of ORRC's club magazine, The Oregon Distance Runner. Through that position, I get to meet a lot of interesting runners and walkers, including Mike Haedrich. Logging a lot of miles in the Pacific NW, he realized what a pain it was to wear a beanie and a headlamp, only to warm up halfway through the run and not need the hat. Or, starting a run under clear skies that turn cloudy and then start to dump rain on you and having no hat with you. So he took his engineering background and created something to solve that problem. Read the whole thing to learn about ALL the cool things this more-than-a-headlamp does ... for example, it's got GPS. I asked him to share his story, and here it is: I have been running in the Portland area for over twenty-five years now. I have actually been fortunate enough to run throughout the world, but I must say, Portland is one of the most beautiful places to run, period. I’ve always thought runners have so much to share through running experiences, whether home or abroad. Races, training runs, scenic runs, or our everyday workout runs, find us throwing on our gear and heading out the door ready to experience something worth remembering.

The Convertible HDL as a beanie.

Until recently, I was just like many runners who wear headbands and skull caps on a regular basis. However, I got tired of trying to figure out which piece of gear to put on for a run. Given that I’m always trying to improve the status quo, I decided to do something about it. I sat down at the sewing machine with a pattern and some fabric and created a solution: an all-in-one piece of gear called the Convertible. The Convertible is a headband with a retractable skull cap. Now I have both pieces of gear with me at all times in a single unit; top down when it is warm, top up in cooler or rainy weather. Perfect!

Now being a techy guy, I couldn’t stop there. I had to add some technology to my new invention. Since I tend to run in the early morning and most days require some sort of illumination, I had found my answer.  I looked at headlamps and realized, other than the LED’s, the technology hadn’t really advanced into the 21st century. Headlamps need to be lightweight, sleek, and ergonomic to appeal to the running crowd. If they could be customizable for optimal illumination, while providing a safe and enjoyable run, all the better. I designed a very powerful headlamp with over 400 lumens that can be customized by the runner to their environment. Using the mobile app I had designed, you can also customize the illumination to ensure you don’t run out of battery (and light) while on your run. I used rechargeable lithium ion batteries that will provide up to twelve hours of illumination on a full charge.

After solving the headlamp dilemma, I decided runners needed a better way to share their running experiences. Instead of just telling family, friends, and their running group about an awesome run, they  needed a way to share their runs visually like never before. So, I designed an action camera with the headlamp into a single module. This is no ordinary action camera; it includes a GPS, altimeter and accelerometer so the stats runners love (run time, pace, distance, elevation change) can be displayed right on the video! With the headlamp, runners can even record fantastic footage in low-light situations. The mobile app allows easy editing of pictures and video as well as quick adjustment of the settings for both the headlamp and camera.

When I added the headlamp and camera to the Convertible, I added HDL to the name. HD for High Definition camera and L for Lamp. To ensure runners don’t have to fumble with buttons, we enabled voice recognition. “Camera. On”, “Camera. Picture”, “Camera. Video” and “Light. Hi”, “Light. Medium”, and “Light. Low” are just a few of the voice commands runners can use without having to break their stride.

The Convertible HDL is a single piece of running gear designed to replace all those headbands, skull caps, and headlamps sitting in your drawer. Our action camera is the first designed specifically for runners. This all-inclusive piece of gear will launch on Kickstarter April 4th. We will offer substantial discounts for early backers, so take a look and be one of the first to order the Convertible HDL. Keep an eye on PRracer.com for regular updates. We plan to have it in your hands for your fall 2016 training calendar.

About Kelly Barten (1152 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.
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