Google-owned home automator Nest Labs has halted sales of its Nest Protect smoke alarm after finding it can be turned off with an accidental wave of the hand.
Nest has also sent an over-the-air update to all of the £109 smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in use which disables the wave-control feature.
Nest said its own testing discovered a bug involving Nest Wave which it could potentially misinterpret as an instruction to turn itself off so owners wouldn’t be alerted to dangers.
Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest Labs, said: “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.”
Nest Wave Protect is designed to monitor your home for smoke and carbon monoxide and can connect to a smartphone app. A key feature is its ability to differentiate between emissions from burnt toast and a real house fire.
The company has yet to receive a customer complaint, but Fadell said he wanted to address the issue immediately by ceasing sales to ensure no-one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update.
However, Amazon UK shopper Andy CI claims his Nest Protect failed to go off when an iron caught fire, even though ‘smoke was billowing out’ and that it was less than six feet away from the incident. It’s not clear if the Nest Wave issue is related.
The company has disabled Nest Wave in detectors connected to Nest account over WiFi, and has urged those without a connected Nest Account to connect it to their alarm so that it can do what is necessary.
Anyone without a Nest Account and no access to Wi-Fi can claim a full refund, and an update is expected to require up three months while it’s developed and then approved by safety agencies.
Nest Wave was enabled in all devices by default, and the exact set of circumstances required to inadvertently disable the smoke alarm has not been published.
Last week saw the UK launch of the Nest smart heating control system, which claims to learn your lifestyle and set up a heating schedule tailored to your home and family.