You may remember the Nest, a smart, connected thermostat that learns your schedule and moderates your home heating and cooling accordingly. Now, the same company is turning their attention to another common little box that hangs in most houses: the smoke detector.
The Nest Protect is built around the recognition that smoke alarms are often an annoyance, going off when they shouldn’t, and not shutting off for anything short of a battery removal. And suddenly you have a useless device. But it’s not annoying anymore. So Nest worked to create a smoke alarm that wouldn’t annoy people and drive them to disable it.
The detector will give an traditional loud alarm if things get really bad, but first it gives something called “Heads-Up”, which is just a woman’s voice in a normal, if slightly urgent tone, that says something like, “Heads up! There’s smoke in the kitchen!” If you know full well there’s smoke in the kitchen because it’s your dinner getting a touch over-done, you can wave you hand once at the detector, which silences it. The Protect also has a light ring on it that glows yellow for a Heads-Up, or red for full emergency mode. Information is also sent to an app on your phone or tablet, so you can get notified even if you’re away from the house.
It’s also a carbon monoxide detector, keeping you safe from the invisible gas that is a growing danger in today’s heavily insulated, almost air-tight houses.
If you have a Nest thermostat, the two devices can work together. The Protect can work as a remote sensor to detect household activity which the thermostat uses to improve its heating/cooling schedule. Also, if the Protect senses carbon monoxide, it can communicate with the thermostat to shut off the furnace (a frequent cause of excess CO in homes).
The Protect is available in both a wired version, and a battery-powered one, and comes in black and white case colors. It’s not available for purchase just yet, but you can preorder on the Nest site. The cost is $129.