This Lighter Works Like a Taser To Start Fires Without a Flame

If you need more than ten fingers to count the number of times you've burned yourself while trying to light a candle at the bottom of a tall glass container, the Illume ArcLighter will probably seem like the greatest invention since the wheel. Instead of a flame, it produces a glowing electric arc that can light everything from candles, to gas burners, to even kindling.

To get the bad news out of the way first, the Illume ArcLighter isn't a product you can buy right now. It's another product seeking funding on Kickstarter to help raise the $45,000 needed to put the prototype into production. The good news is that it's already reached that goal, and with a donation of $40 you can pre-order one with an estimated delivery date of November, but odds are you probably won't see it until 2016. So as with any crowdfunded product, patience is the other price you'll need to pay.


But the ArcLighter definitely seems like it might be worth waiting for. Powered by a built-in battery that's charged via an included USB dock, the ArcLighter works just fine in the strongest of winds, can be used upside-down without a flame burning your fingers, and the tip always remains cool to the touch. There's no lighter fluid to deal with, and it even automatically times out after eight seconds as an added safety feature.

It can't be used for self-defense, though. Except when you're trying to keep animals in the wild at bay with a roaring fire, or preventing kids at a birthday party from turning on you by lighting the cake and serving up some ice cream. [Kickstarter - Illume ArcLighter]

Illustration for article titled This Lighter Works Like a Taser To Start Fires Without a Flame

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Back in the '30s some cigarette lighters worked sort of like this. A metal wand dipped in lighter fluid was tapped agains a peg which turned a spark wheel against a flint. Not electric, but very cool. Bogie used one in The Maltese Falcon.