Wake up! It's Wasabi O'Clock!

Wasabi smoke alarm raises a stink in Japan

Instead of an ear-piercing wail, the device unleashes the chemical compound allyl isothiocyanate, which gives horseradish, mustard, and wasabi their bite. A red LED on the alarm also starts flashing when smoke is detected.

In tests on sleeping people with normal or no hearing, the device woke nearly all subjects up within two and a half minutes after the stench hit their nostrils. Further tests determined the ideal intensity of airborne wasabi to wake people up but not hurt their eyes in the process.


15 Responses:

  1. kensey says:

    I'd hesitate to use this, because I'd be afraid that after a real fire I'd associate the smell of wasabi (which I like) with flaming, painful near-death.

    • My thing is whether I would smell wasabi over, you know, great billows of lung-searing smoke. I assume the test did not account for this.

      • lafinjack says:

        Yeah, if this were my product I'd sell a set of detectors, where if one goes off on the other side of the house, it's wired so the one in your room will go off too.

      • kensey says:

        I assume one of the following is the case (hopefully #2):

        1) The inventors were having lunch one day, somebody said "Man, this stuff would wake the dead", and they jumped on it without really thinking it through.

        2) The wasabi compound is so volatile that it pervades the room while the smoke at person-height is still mostly localized near the fire.

        Two and a half minutes sounds like a long time, but as others have noted it could be the difference between losing everything but your life, and losing that too.

  2. allbery says:

    Isn't "within two and a half minutes" a little slow for a fire alarm?

    • jmissig says:

      article says it's for deaf people

    • burr86 says:

      I've slept through a number of fire alarms in my apartment complex. Or not woken up quickly enough, etc.

    • jayp39 says:

      I slept through a regular fire alarm for several hours once (fortunately it wasn't a house fire; wood stove was just too smoky).

      2.5 minutes would be a vast improvement over never waking up at all.

  3. bifrosty2k says:

    Oh wow... As someone who enjoys Wasabi, still ow.

  4. THIS IS THE CAR/ BICYCLE ALARM I NEED!! So when someone fucks with your ride, POW! FULL BLAST!!!!

  5. deeptape says:

    Weaponized Aerosol Wasabi!