SEEMS Inc., a Japanese company which focuses on fragrance and biomimetics to develop products for environmental, medical, and security applications, has developed the “Wasabi Fire Alarm”.
Actually a smoke detector, the product is designed to assist in notifying deaf people of a fire event using the pungent aroma of Wasabi–the spicy green horseradish condiment known for its ability to make eyes water. Upon detecting smoke, the unit sprays out a synthesized wasabi smell that wakes up people who might have slept through a conventional fire alarm.
Assistant professor Makoto Imai from the Shiga University of Medical Science, who built the alarm in collaboration with SEEMS, stated the smoke detector may save lives among the hard of hearing. In studies, Imai reported that the Wasabi smoke detector was tested on 14 people, including four deaf people. Except for one person with a blocked nose, all woke up within two minutes of the smell reaching them.
The product may enter the market in Japan within two years.