Nest, the inventors of the smarter thermostat, turn their attention to the smoke detector and get it right.
For years we have been complaining that every house should have sprinklers; our houses are full of combustible and toxic materials and smoke detectors have never been good enough. Smoke detectors have been proven to be effective life-savers when they work; according to the National Fire Protection Association, two thirds of home fire deaths occurred in homes without them. However fully 25% of the ones that are installed have dead batteries or are disconnected.
The common ionization types can't tell the difference between your toast and a real fire. They're dumb. Now NEST has redesigned the smoke detector from the ground up, and it is not only smart, it's brilliant.
The Nest Protect smoke detector understands that there are different kinds of alarms and different kinds of warnings. It doesn't just scream at you.
Before turning on a loud, howling alarm, Nest Protect gives you an early warning we call Heads-Up. Nest Protect lights up yellow and speaks with a human voice. It tells you where smoke is or when carbon monoxide levels are rising. This gives you an earlier warning if there’s an emergency, or allows you to silence Nest Protect if it’s just a nuisance alarm, like an overly enthusiastic toaster.
It will connect over WiFi to the other thermostats in the house so that everyone will hear the warnings. If it is a false alarm, just wave at it; it has ultrasonic detectors (which also turn on a night light as you pass under it.) If you have a NEST thermostat and it detects CO2 that might be coming from the furnace, it will turn it off. If your toast sets it off, there is a big button in the middle to override it. Company founder Tony Fadell tells Fast Company:
"It's insane to me how all of these other things have really little freakin' buttons on them! We made a nice, really big button that -- boom! -- you can hit if you need to. You could even hit it with a tennis ball."
Of course it also has an app that lets you see what is going on with it on your phone.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Protect is that it is so cheap, at $129. Smoke detectors are so important, yet have barely changed in years. This should be in every home. More at Nest