Eureka Moment: A Text Messaging Smoke Detector

firetext smoke detector

Images Credit Firetext

What is the best way to protect our homes and families from fire? Some say we should fill all our furniture and plastics with fire retardants; Others, like me, suggest that we would be better off without all these chemicals and should instead use natural materials, but that we need to crank up the fire protection accordingly. Thats why I think every home should have sprinklers. In lieu of that, here is a wonderful idea: A smoke detector with a built in SIM card that will send a text message to up to four numbers when the alarm goes off.

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The inventor, Matthew Newman, explains the idea:

Each year I would go and visit family in South Africa and when arriving back I would always have the fear that our house had burnt down through an electrical fault. This fear was elevated when we moved to a new town and bought a house in need of serious renovation. So one year after we had arrived back I decided to fit a smoke alarm. Whilst fitting it I had my eureka moment. I realised that this still wouldn't ease my fears. As the house had concrete ceilings I couldn't get an electrical cable to the smoke alarm which then lead me to look for a battery powered smoke alarm with SMS capability.

I would have preferred a hard wired photoelectric smoke detector instead of a battery powered ionizing one; they are a little less sensitive and do not have radioactive isotopes in them. Also, people tend to let the batteries run down; it would be nice if it sent you a text message when it was time to replace them. However it is loaded with a lithium battery that will last two to four years in average use, and most people, like Matthew, do not have convenient wiring.

It is expensive at £89.99 (~$140) but I have a cabin in the woods that I always worry about, and if my kids were still young I would think that was cheap for what is essentially a wireless monitoring system. I want one. (no, I want two, one for the cabin and one for home).

Website is a work in progress at Firetext, found on Gizmag
More on fire safety:
Put Sprinklers in Every Housing Unit
Are flame retardants a bigger risk than fire?

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