A hand wave can unintentionally switch the device off

Nest pulls smart fire alarm from sale over safety concerns

Google-owned ‘Internet of Things’ vendor Nest has withdrawn its Wi-Fi enabled fire alarm from sale after discovering how it could be accidentally switched off.

The Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm speaks to warn users of rising carbon monoxide or smoke levels, is WiFi compatible and it lets users silence it by waving their hand at it from two to eight feet away. The latter is the reason why Nest is switching the feature off, pulling the devices from sale and offering refunds to customers who want to get rid of them.

In a letter sent to customers, Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell said: "At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality. During recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, we observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave (a feature that enables you to turn off your alarm with a wave of the hand) could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire.

"We identified this problem ourselves and are not aware of any customers who have experienced this, but the fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me and I want to address it immediately.

"We feel that the best and safest thing to do is to immediately disable the Nest Wave feature to resolve the issue and remove any safety concerns. While we fix Nest Wave, we have also halted sales of all new Nest Protect alarms to ensure no one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update."

Fadell says that once a solution has been found, Nest will update its software to turn the feature back on. He estimates it will take at least ‘two or three’ months of testing and to receive approval from safety agencies in the UK, US and Canada.

"We’re enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue," he added. "Please know that the entire Nest team and I are focused on fixing this problem and continuing to improve our current products in every way possible."

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