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Nest's Next Project: Smart Smoke Detectors

Will you be able to stop the device by waving in front of it? That's one of the options the firm's designers are exploring.

Nest's next product looks like it will be a smoke detector. Jessica Lessin reports the $800-million firm, helmed by ex-Apple employee Tony Fadell, has been examining the possibilities of creating something that would work as a peripheral to the Nest system.

As most homeowners know, the smoke alarm industry is ripe for disruption—and Nest is looking at all sorts of ways of doing so. The firm is considering gesture-based commands: Imagine you've burnt the toast and set the alarm off, and all you need to do is wave your arms in front of the device to shut it up. This would send even the most curmudgeonly home owner into a state of rapture. It's also considering the no-brainers such as a carbon monoxide detector. And there's the subscription service to monitor alerts sent to your smartphone—as well as putting you at ease, should you live in the same neighborhood as a pyromaniac, it would create an extra revenue stream for Nest.

If anyone knows how to design the perfect product, it is Fadell, whose stint at Apple made designing perfection seem attainable. The firm is currently fighting a patent claim by Honeywell, and earlier this month entered into a patent-licensing agreement with Intellectual Ventures.

[Image: Flickr user Marko Rosic]

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