The brainiacs over at Nest have done it again. For a second time, they've taken a household appliance, generally considered modern and fully functional, and updated it in a way that makes us wonder how we ever lived without their innovation. This year's mundane-turned-awesome appliance is slightly surprising: it's the smoke alarm.
The average smoke alarm has a short and usually annoying lifespan. From the moment they first begin chirping about their low batteries at 3:30 in the morning, or scream bloody murder while you're making a grilled cheese sandwich, their days are numbered. And while taking a hammer to the shrieking, wayward alarm might feel good at the time, it can become quite the risk later on.
In a simple yet brilliant stroke, Nest has done away with both of these issues. Instead of mindless chirping, when Protect is low on battery power it simply sends your smartphone a cordial, spoken alert briefing you on the status of your alarm. Similarly, if your alarm goes off while you're cooking, you can just wave at it to trigger an ultrasonic sensor and signal a false alarm.
The chief innovation here is a function called Heads-Up. This early warning alert gives you a vocal notification when smoke or carbon monoxide levels are beginning to rise. This gives you earlier warning than a traditional smoke alarm would, while also pinpointing exactly where the threat might be for you. No longer will you have to run around an entire house full of beeping to locate a single unattended candle.
Nest Protect is currently available for pre-order for $129. If you order at Nest's online store, you'll have the choice of either the traditional white or an exclusive black finish. For more info about the Protect, check out the video below.