Nest Labs, the home technology company that was acquired by Google in January, discovered today that its second product, the Protect has a (potentially fatal) flaw in it.
The device allows users to wave at it to shut the fire and carbon monoxide alarm off. However, it appears that motions other than waves could be interpreted as such and, consequently, could turn off the alarm.
As you might imagine, if such an event occurred during an emergency before people were notified, the consequences could be disastrous.
In a letter from Tony Fadell, the company’s CEO, he urges Protect owners to disable the feature or to allow the company to do it for you.
“At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality,” wrote Fadell. “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.”
Fadell states that the waving feature will be reenabled once the company comes up with a solution to the problem. Users can also return their Protect for a full refund.