Nest Labs makes the boring smoke detector exciting with Protect

By on October 8, 2013, 10:00 AM
nest labs, nest, learning thermostat, smoke detector, protect, tony fadell

Nest Labs has officially unveiled their latest household appliance, a smoke detector. Known as the Nest Protect, the company hopes it will do for boring smoke detectors what the Learning Thermostat did for boring thermostats – make them more appealing and easy to use.

As was rumored last month, the Nest Protect will ship with a wealth of features designed to turn the nuisance of a smoke detector (low battery chip, false alarms, anyone?) into a pleasant and useful device. Turns out, that low battery warning you often hear at night is a result of a simple design flaw.

Temperatures typically drop at night which means the batteries cool down. This inadvertently triggers the alarm’s low power sensor which in turn triggers a lot of angry sleepers to get up and disconnect the battery. According to Nest, some 66 percent of fire-related deaths in the home may have been prevented if users hadn’t disconnected the battery in their smoke detector.

The Protect is packed full of useful sensors including those for fire, carbon monoxide, heat, light, motion and ultrasonic waves. Rather than just sound an alarm at full blast the moment a whiff of smoke is detected (say for instance, you burn something on the stove), Protect will sound a vocal warning. In the event you are in another room, the motion sensor will detect this and beam the warning to the nearest Protect using Wi-Fi.

The alarm can even send a push notification to your phone and the LED ring on the device will turn from green (everything is normal) to yellow (something is awry). If you determine it is a false alarm, simply wave your hand near the Protect or dismiss the notification on your phone. Should the smoke not clear up, however, a full-scale alarm will be triggered (with accompanying red LED flashes).

When the system’s batteries are on the low side, the LED ring will glow yellow and a vocal message will let you know what’s up (along with a push notification). If Protect detects carbon monoxide, it will send a shut-off command to your Nest thermostat to turn off your gas furnace.

Even when everything is fine, the Protect is still useful. For example, if you wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom or get something from the fridge, the motion sensor will detect movement and the LED ring will glow white to help light your way.

The Nest Protect is slated to hit stores by the end of the month in the US for $129. It’ll be available in two different models – one powered by 120V and the other by two AA batteries - and in two different colors: white or black.

User Comments: 11

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Guest said:

This sound very nice but they miss a major feature, the ability to hook the device to your existing alarm system. Right now I wont change my smoke alarm for that reason. Hope they add this in version 2.0

insect said:

How about not sending the alarm to my phone and instead to the fire dept?

And $129?!! I think I stick with the $15 "annoying" variety. Heck, for $129 I could get all those detectors in each room of my house - Fire, CO, Motion sensing night light.

freythman freythman said:

How about not sending the alarm to my phone and instead to the fire dept?

You sure you want the Fire Department out for every false alarm?

MilwaukeeMike said:

And $129?!! I think I stick with the $15 "annoying" variety. Heck, for $129 I could get all those detectors in each room of my house - Fire, CO, Motion sensing night light.

I agree... seems like a solution in search of a problem. Sounds like a cool product, but I have no use for it at all. The only benefit sounds like the motion sensing nightlight, and having a nightlight in the bathroom isn't a huge inconvenience for me.

JC713 JC713 said:

This is really cool. It may come in handy in the kitchen since the fire alarm goes off a lot just because of a little smoke from the cooking. But for $130? No thanks.


Yeah the price seems a bit steep... while all these features are great, I would expect more features for that price point. Since these already have WiFi and can send info to your smart phone, why not add a camera? Microphone? Two way comms? Throw in this security aspect with this thing packed with features and then maybe I'll consider paying a large wad of cash for them.

mctommy said:

Only the crazies and the rich would go for this. At $130 a pop for a house that typically needs 4+, it gets super expensive rather quickly ... heck it's expensive with just the one.

Acespaces Acespaces said:

I only wish it would squirt extinguishing powder in the air when its on full alarm

MrAnderson said:

This is pretty cool. 130 bucks might seem like a lot to most people, but products like this need to be out there before you can start to bring the price down.

They are building that network of things companies romanticize about at CES and from within their R&D departments only. Their designs turn the pretty much meh things we have around the house into something a lot more functional and perhaps more relevant to our digital lives.

Niche now, big market in very near future.

1 person liked this | GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

But can it run Crysis?

lol just kidding, anyway this is awesome, I agree JC713, a little cheaper and id buy at least three!

freythman freythman said:

But can it run Crysis?


I'm glad someone is innovating in this area. As with anything, the price will come down as supply goes up. Give it a few years.

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