Google's Nest Labs is recalling about 440,000 smoke detectors because activity near the devices can be misinterpreted as a command to silence the alarm.
The company, acquired in January by Google for $3.2 billion, identified the problem in early April. CEO Tony Fadell said in a blog post at the time that recent laboratory testing of the Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide alarm revealed that the device's Nest Wave feature, which allows users to turn off the alarm with a wave of the hand, could be activated inadvertently, thereby preventing the device's alarm from sounding during a fire.
A list of frequently asked questions posted by Nest Labs indicates that the flaw lies in the Nest Wave algorithm, which analyzes motion detection data. Nest Labs halted sales of its smoke detector voluntarily last month and temporarily addressed the issue through a software update that disables Nest Wave. The recall notice formalizes the company's response to the problem through the involvement of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The recall does not require removing the device and sending it back to Nest. The CPSC says that customers who have not connected their Nest Protect to the Internet through a WiFi network should do so to receive a software update that disables Nest Wave. Customers with devices already connected to the Internet are advised to confirm that the Nest Wave feature has been disabled by checking the Nest Sense section of their Nest account via Nest's mobile application or the Web.
Nest Labs has not received any reports of incidents, injuries, or property damage arising from this issue, according to the CPSC. Nest Protect is not currently available. When it was being sold, it cost about $130 and was available from Best Buy, Home Depot, and other retailers, as well as from Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, HomeDepot.com, and Nest's website.
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