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Nest recalls half a million smart smoke detectors

Posting in Technology

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Nest has recalled almost half a million Protect smoke detectors due to a design flaw which could prevent the device from sounding the alarm in case of fire.

The Google-owned company, well known for its Web-connected 'smart' thermostat, is perhaps not so smart when developing a device which can save lives. The company has recalled 440,000 Protect smoke detectors due to a "failure to sound alert."

The fire alarms have a design feature which allows users to turn off the alarm by waving at it, instead of waving a tea towel or jumping on chairs to mash a button if you accidentally set it off. The problem? It works too well.

Rather than going silent through a single, waving gesture, the smoke detector's feature can be triggered by any number of movements. In theory, if you have accidentally turned the detector off and then start a fire, you're in trouble.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission website displays the recall notice.

As the detectors are connected to the Internet, you can download a patch to fix the problem, but this hasn't stopped Nest from issuing a recall -- saving itself the possibility of a huge lawsuit in the process.

Nest says that the CPSC press release relates to a safety notice issued by the firm's CEO in April, and "bringing Nest Protect back on the market soon."

Read on: Fast Co.Design

Image credit: Nest

— By on May 22, 2014, 4:00 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure