In the U.S. last year, more than 150,000 house fires were started in the kitchen. One of the main contributors to these fires? People simply getting distracted and forgetting that they have some hot food cooking on the stove.
A new safety gadget called Fire Avert is hoping to prevent that from ever happening again.
Originally called Active Alarm, Fire Avert senses when the home's smoke alarm is activated and automatically cuts the power to the stove, preventing a fire before it even starts. The device is equipped with a microphone and processor that is constantly listening for the unique frequencies caused by an active smoke alarm.
Fire Avert is a simple plug and play box that any homeowner can easily hook up, founder Peter Thorpe said in an interview with Postscapes.
"You plug your stove into the device and because most stoves are flush with the wall, you won't even know it's back there until its saves your home," said Thorpe, a career firefighter and public safety student.
Thorpe's team consists of Michael Sanders, a mechanical engineering graduate student at Brigham Young University, and Rhett Weller, a second year MBA graduate student at BYU. Currently they are testing the product and working toward having the product ETL (Edison Testing Laboratories) certified — a standard for verifying safety of a consumer product.
Thorpe hopes to sell the fire preventing gadget for $89.99, but as a young company, that price could change. The goal is to start manufacturing after the new year and release sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Although not a true Internet of Things device, the Fire Alert system gives a glimpse into what kind of practical applications can emerge when you start integrating sensors across devices.