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Nest Tackles Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Nest Labs Inc. reinvented the residential thermostat and has now turned its attention to the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm category.

Nest Labs Inc. reinvented the residential thermostat and has now turned its attention to the smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarm category.

The new device, Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide does much more than just sound a shrill alarm when there’s danger in home. It speaks to the homeowner, telling where the danger is and what the problem is. And before it sounds a piercing alarm, Nest Protect gives a friendly Heads-Up warning that can be silenced with a wave of the hand. It integrates with mobile devices and even messages the user if its batteries run low, avoiding that all-too-familiar midnight low-battery chirp.

Nest Protect introduces a distinctive square shape with a white sunflower pattern. A black version will be available only at

“With our first product, the Nest Learning Thermostat, we set out to help people reduce home energy use,” said Tony Fadell, Nest founder and chief executive officer. “Now, we’re turning our attention to something that’s also important: keeping families safe in their homes. We’ve all experienced the smoke alarm going off while we’re cooking or searched for the source of that incessant low-battery chirp in the middle of the night. Every time a smoke alarm cries wolf, we trust it a little less, and then—in a moment of frustration—we rip the batteries out to stop the beeping. And that leaves us and our families at risk.”

According to a study by the National Fire Protection Agency of smoke alarms that failed to activate during home fires, 73 percent of them had dead, missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.

“Safety shouldn’t be annoying,” said Matt Rogers, Nest founder and vice president of engineering. “It was unacceptable to us that almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. These products are required by law and are supposed to keep us safe, yet people hate them. We wanted to change that, so we created Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide.”

Nest Protect offers more than just smoke and CO warnings. Its LED lights can be a night light in a home. When it’s dark, Nest Protect will light a homeowner’s way as he or she walks underneath it.

Nest Protect’s sensors include a photoelectric smoke sensor, CO sensor, heat sensor, light sensor, ultrasonic sensors, and activity sensor. Together, they analyze smoke and CO levels, see when you wave, and light your way at night.

If a home has more than one Nest Protect, they connect so a homeowner will hear alarms from all Nest Protects in his or her home, even if the danger is in only one room.

In the U.S., Nest Protect offers voice alerts in either English or Spanish.

Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide is expected to be on sale in November at Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, and The Home Depot for a suggested retail price of $129.00 (U.S.). It will be available in two versions—wired (120V) and battery-powered .

A version of Nest Protect that will be compatible with wired security systems is expected to be available in early 2014. Nest Protect will also be available in Canada and the U.K.