Canary is a product created by a Brooklyn based team that wants to upgrade that old smoke detector you have in your home and replace it with a smarter version that can monitor for fire and smoke, as well as track air quality and replace your carbon monoxide detector while it's at it.
Notification alerts are a core feature of the product and range from SMS Messages telling you when the batteries need to be replaced, to phone calls and patching you directly to emergency services in the case of a real fire or alarm.
The air quality component of the device measures particulate matter like dust, pollen and mold and uses this data in combination with a RESTful web API and open city data from the NYC departments of health, construction, and parks to create maps and histories of air quality for a particular neighborhood.
For more details you can view the team's product pitch in the video below or visit: Canarydetector.com/ for information on the hardware and expected release dates of the device.
Additional: NYC BigApp page, Gizmodo, FastCo