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Nest Protect: Not Your Parents Smoke Detector

What makes Nest Protect Smart?

Nest Protect: Not Your Parents Smoke Detector

Many devices have fallen from grace in the wake of the smartphone. Some examples are standalone: the GPS, the Disc-man, and even the digital camera. Your dishcloth may never go the way of the Disc-man, but it is being replaced in at least one way by technology. Nest Protect is not your parents smoke detector.

The new Nest Protect has been redesigned from the inside out. It has an industrial-grade smoke sensor, tests itself out automatically, and lasts up to a decade. It is also the first home alarm you can hush from your phone without any extra hardware required.

Waking up to a breakfast feast can be a pleasant surprise. Waking up to a false fire alarm – not so much. Some relief exists in there not actually being a fire. However, an attempt at a charming gesture ends with you frantically waving a dishtowel in the air to best prevent the smoke alarm from waking the entire house. Nest Protect offers a calm warning prior to sounding an alarm. You can acknowledge the warning without waking the family, and breakfast in bed is saved, even if the toast wasn’t so lucky.

Count sheep, not chirps. No one should be woken up by a low-battery chirp at 2am. Low battery indications are sent to your smart phone. Your dreams are no longer haunted by the nagging sound of a chirping smoke detector with dying batteries. Nest Protect can be tested remotely through the Nest App on your smart device. The flashlight reigned supreme as the easiest method for smoke alarm battery checks in the early 90’s. Today, we are connected to our smartphones on an almost extra-sensory level.

One key reason that many families are making the switch to Nest is that it combines smoke and carbon monoxide detection in a single unit. Plenty of other “combo” units exist, but most include only a single smoke detection technology – either a photoelectric or ionization sensor – along with a carbon monoxide detector. However, photoelectric sensors excel only at detecting “smoldering” fires, for instance, from burning foam of the kind found in furniture cushions. Ionization sensors, on the other hand, only reign proficient at detecting “flaming” fires.

Sometimes this kind of smoke detector mismatch results only in a detection delay. In other words, the alarm will sound…eventually, but not always. When Nest separately commissioned testing from an independent lab, two out of three competing ionization detectors didn’t ever sound in the presence of smoldering fire tests. Ionization detectors also have a reputation for false alarms, which are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.

This problem is being addressed in a novel way. It is based on standard photoelectric technology that sees smoke by shining beans through a smoke chamber and detecting how much light gets scattered by airborne particles within. Traditional photoelectric detectors use infrared light with a wavelength above 700nm. This works well for detecting large smoke particles of 250nm, but burning items like pine wood or newspapers produce smaller particles of only 50nm. In order to combat this setback, an additional blue LED light has been added. This light shines at around 400nm. When smoke particles are very small, shorter wavelengths of light, such as blue, scatter light particles more efficiently than longer wavelengths like infrared. This is known as a “Split Spectrum Sensor.”

If a smoke alarm goes off in your home, and no one is home to hear it—does it make a sound? Nest Protect will notify you on your smartphone if an alarm occurs. Smoke, fire, or carbon monoxide. You are empowered to respond or call on emergency services if necessary. Don’t be unprotected. Needing it once will prove its value for a lifetime.