Does the scent of wasabi swimming in a pool of soy sauce rouse you up? if it does, then you'll probably find the Wasabi Fire Alarm, which unleashes a strong odor of the spicy Japanese horseradish during danger, a worthy home security device.
What's wrong with that good old ear-breaking sound alarm? Nothing, really. The novel device is intended for the hearing impaired. Brilliant I say. Might I suggest don't take the sound capability out though. Leave both in just to cover all bases.
The Wasabi Fire Alarm is an 8 x 3 inch device that releases allyl isothiocyanate (that very chemical compound that gives the green spice its bite) over an area of 50 feet. Since wasabi vapors actually stimulate the nose more than the tongue, it's a stench that bound to irritate your senses - thus, potentially saving lives.
According to its makers, the device has proven effective during tests, managing to wake up 100% of sleeping subjects within two and a half minutes of the alarm going off. Sure, 150 seconds sounds like too much time between detection and response, but there really isn't anything else that can perform the same feat for hearing-impaired individuals.
Developed by Air Water Safety Service (a Kobe-based fire extinguisher company) and Seems (a Tokyo-based bioventure), the unusual safety system was first shown off two years ago as a concept. It's now been on shelves in Japan over a couple of months at around $560, but sales have been slow. The company is reportedly looking at a redesign that will help shave down the price to $225.