By Dane Wilson
Last week I took some time off from our (49er sailboat) training and did an internship at our new sponsor, Light & Motion. They make some of the best dive, bike, and outdoor lights on the planet. In fact, they make “the perfect light” for almost any outdoor activity.
I interned with the electronics manufacturer and test engineer Andre Bertomeu. He has a very interesting job. My visit took place just as they were preparing to release a new light. Before going public with any light they put the lights through all kinds of tests such as dropping them from various heights, submerging them in water, and seeing how they work in different environments.
While I was there Andre wanted to test 60 lights all at the same time to see how they reacted when the battery charge ran out. We needed to build 60 small boxes that allowed the light to shine through one side and hit a semi-opaque wall on the other side and then faintly shine through. Andre used cameras on both sides of the light and box so that he could monitor every light’s performance. When the project was done there would be 60 lights all turned on and pointed into the boxes that were then covered with a tarp so that no light would get in and disturb the results. We set up a camera to record everything that happened while the lights were on. While I was making this entire contraption Andre was writing some code so that when the camera was filming the lights the program would record the data into a spreadsheet so he didn’t have to watch the whole video and record the data by hand. Pretty cool.
I also spent some of my time at Light & Motion in other departments so I got a gist of what every department did and how they all functioned together. I got to see the process of how the different products were conceived, where they were designed (first on paper and then digitally), where they were created as prototypes, tested, how they were coded so that they all had the right functions, and then how they were finally shipped out the door. The cool part about this company is that they do everything from concept to shipping the product out the door all in Marina, CA.
Light & Motion is full of creative, smart people trying to create the perfect light in the perfect way. They work by themselves and in small groups all contributing to the overall process, which when the whole thing is all done they have a pretty awesome light. And, the best part is that they save a ton of waste because their process is fully integrated from start to finish. Light & Motion is officially “Cool in California.” CoolCalifornia.org’s Small Business Award Program recognizes Light & Motion for “taking proactive steps to reduce their impact on our climate.”
You can follow Dane on his adventures to protect and bring awareness to sailing and the ocean at www.fromwhencewecame.org