Smarter Smoke Detectors

It's tremendously encouraging to see long-neglected products benefit from smart redesigns, and there may be no better recent example than the lowly smoke detector. Hated for difficulty in testing, silencing, battery changing, and... pretty much everything, smoke detectors have been so badly designed that some users prefer to risk disabling them entirely. However, a new wave of products - most prominently Nest Protect and Birdi - solve those problems and then some. Each gives more helpful and gentle reminders to change the battery, and each is designed to "not just start yelling at you" for common false alarms like burned toast. They have novel interaction methods, including gestures and mobile phone integration, and monitor carbon monoxide and air quality and more. To all of which I say: it's about time, and keep it coming!

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