When Nest Protect — the finest WiFi-enabled smoke/carbon monoxide detector that $129 can buy — was released last fall, there was a whole lot of clamoring over the  “Nest Wave” function that enables users to silence the super-brainy device with just a simple gesture.

I wrote back in October:

Heads Up is obviously a godsend for those prone to burning popcorn, charring grilled cheese, and otherwise generating ungodly, smoke-based messes in the kitchen. Instead of throwing open windows and frantically waving a tea towel in the air until your arm falls off in an effort to make your average smoke alarm stop wailing like a banshee in non-emergency “nuisance” situations, you can simply wave your hand within a 2 to 8-foot range of the Nest Protect — the Nest Wave — under the device or manually push the Nest button. And just like that, the device will fall silent.
But as it turns out, this ingenious feature can be inadvertently activated, leaving homes vulnerable to real fires. While there have been no real-world instances of this happening, the glitch was discovered during internal testing.

After identifying and going public with the defect, Nest Labs immediately released a firmware update that will automatically deactivate the flawed feature. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company also decided to temporarily halt sales of new units so that, in the words of Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell, “no one buys a unit that needs an immediate update.”

Those who already own the delightfully non-shrill devices but who have not activated their Nest accounts are urged to do so that they can also receive the Nest Wave-disabling upgrade.

Account-less Nest Protect users who have opted to use the device without Wi-Fi and, thus, will not receive the firmware update that disables the Nest Wave function, are advised to stop using it altogether and are eligible to receive a full refund — to be clear, all Nest Protect owners can get a refund if they want one — if they don’t want to wait two or three months, the estimated fix time anticipated by Fadell, to swap-out an old unit with with a new one. For those taking full advantage of the Nest Protect's Internet-connected brains, which I'm assuming are most folks, new software including corrected Nest Wave functionality will be unrolled in a future upgrade within the two- to three-month timeframe.

Writes Fadell in a blog post:

At Nest, we conduct regular, rigorous tests to ensure that our products are the highest quality. 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.
Just days before the safety concerns over the Nest Protect went public, Nest Lab's flagship smart home device, the Nest Learning Thermostat, made its highly anticipated debut in the United Kingdom.

Via [The Verge]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Sales of Nest Protect halted due to glitch with feature that makes it such a godsend
An unstoppable smart home start-up faces its first major bump in the road: Safety concerns over the Nest Protect smoke detector's 'Nest Wave' function.