Wasabi Smoke Alarm Now Available

This wasabi-based alarm will wake you up when it really counts, says researchers. Instead of a loud noise, the alarm dishes out the chemical compound allyl isothiocyanate, which gives horseradish, mustard, and wasabi their famous zip. The wasabi smoke alarm has been under development for several years.

(Wasabi smoke alarm)

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.

The alarm is about 8 inches long by 3 inches wide and works on a room that's roughly 50 square feet. It was launched in 2009 following a two-year development by Kobe-based fire extinguisher company Air Water Safety Service and Seems, a bioventure in Tokyo.

Frank Herbert wrote about a device he called the odalarm, an alarm clock that uses scent rather than sound, in his excellent 1977 novel The Dosadi Experiment

The odalarm awoke Jorj X. McKie with a whiff of lemon.

See my previous article on the wasabi smoke alarm; latest news via CNET.

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