Wasabi fire alarms

21 03 2008

Have you ever tried wasabi, that hot green Japanese stuff? The Japanese have invented a smoke alarm that releases a horseradish scent which is strong enough to waken people … without making a sound at all. Prototypes of this smoke alarm that sprayed canned wasabi extract into a room succeeded in waking 13 out of 14 test subjects within 2 minutes. One subject who is actually deaf awoke 10 seconds after the wasabi essence was sprayed.

Flashing lights don’t always work, especially if you sleep under the covers or with your eyes shut. Light won’t usually waken me. Batteries can run out too. Vibrating alarms which slip under the pillow are ok but batteries can run out, and they can move around and fall off the bed. This wasabi alarm certainly looks intriguing. It will be on sale in a few years time.

CHECK HERE for a demonstration of the wasabi smoke alarm.

CHECK HERE for a demonstration of what happens when you inhale a line of wasabi (and haven’t tried it!).

Fire alert systems

21 03 2008

There is a petition to try and make sure businesses and public places fit the right fire alarm systems for deaf and hard of hearing people. The petition is to create legislation by statute to include deaf people in the general regulations concerning the fire and emergency alarm systems in all public, commercial and industrial buildings in Britain.

Nine million deaf and hearing impaired people are unable to hear the sounding of the emergency alarm systems whilst sleeping at night in a hotel. Similarly this group may be unable to recognise the fire alarm even in ordinary circumstances due to hearing difficulties.

Technology has allowed development of auxiliary radio-alerter systems that work in conjunction with primary alarms; activating a pager that alerts the user. Such equipment may use a specific wavelength so the single radio frequency can be reserved for the sole purpose of deaf people.

Legislation is an essential prerequisite to ensure the same wavelength is used throughout Britain; the same radio-pager will activate to a commercial alarm in any public corporate building, factory, office or hotel.

Without access to general sounds, this group is vulnerable and in continual danger within places of work. This danger amplifies itself in magnitude during sleep in a hotel. Altogether deaf people will be continually at risk unless legislation is made available under regulation to ensure all such buildings are equipped with a working auxiliary radio transmitter that will activate users to the emergency.

Petition deadline : 03 April 2008

You can sign the petition here.

You can also write to Mr Bruce Calderwood, Director to the Office for Disability Issues, to express your reasons for supporting the petition at The Adelphi, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT

Alerting devices

14 01 2008

I always find it harder in the winter to wake early, and it didn’t help that my shakeawake didn’t really shake, instead it gave a weak wobble then died every morning. I replaced the batteries but there was no improvement. I left feedback on the alarm clock with the company that I purchased it from (Connevans), and a few days later the MD contacted me personally, asking for clarification of the problem as they had not seen this particular problem before. He suggested replacing the batteries with new alkaline ones instead of rechargeable ones which have a slightly lower terminal voltage. I did so, and hey presto! it worked. So I am now getting an earthquake simulation again every morning, how nice.

Well done on fabulous customer service, Connevans!


I’ve been thinking of getting a Philips wake-up light which might make waking up in the winter easier, it helps with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This clock simulates a rising sun with birds singing, to fool your body into thinking it’s time to get up – naturally. I was talking to a colleague and she says she has the same problem with waking up in the winter mornings and feeling tired all the time. I told her about this clock. She realised that her bedroom faces north and her second bedroom faces south. That night, she moved into the second bedroom and she came into the office the next day with a spring in her step and she was absolutely glowing. Good idea!


There may be a new alarm clock out soon, designed by Meng Fandi. The alarming ring is worn like a ring, and it wakes you up with a vibration – ideal for couples and there are also two rings in the set.


Another alarm clock that I found interesting was the sonic bomb at £29.95 – probably ideal for hard of hearing people (but I’d feel so sorry for the neighbours!). This one is really really loud at 113 decibels – a jackhammer has only 100 decibels. The sonic bomb also has a vibrating pad which you can tuck under the pillow for your favourite earthquake simulation.


What if your deaf teenage son refuses to get up in the morning? You could try the sonic grenade. Simply pull the pin, lob it into the room, and wait. The sleeper will have to hunt for the pin to silence the grenade – if you’re generous enough to throw that in as well. Cheap at £7.95


The drag racer alarm clock revs up and the lights light up in sequence. A cheap thrill at $30!


The danger bomb clock wakes you up with an explosion sound. To switch it off, you have to pull out one code from three, which is randomly set each morning. This one is a limited edition! $36.75


Here’s a lovely watch that has been designed by Nikita Golovlev with the hearing impaired in mind. The AlarMe is unique…. it has two multidirectional microphones that measure surrounding sound levels. When these change, the watch vibrates to alert the wearer, LED lights flash and a message appears on the watch face saying what the problem is, e.g. if a fire alert, they need to exit the building. Perhaps this could be an electronic version of a Hearing Dog?

Petition – legislation to include deaf people in general fire and emergency regulations

17 07 2007

Click on the LINK to sign the petition to create legislation by statute to include deaf people in the general regulations concerning the fire and emergency alarm systems in all public, commercial and industrial buildings in Britain.

Closing date is 3 April 2008

Anemone clock

2 07 2007

Do you have trouble waking up in the mornings? I do. My dog pestered me this morning at 7am and I kept waving him away. Half an hour later I realised that my alarm HAD gone off, it was Monday, and I was late for work.


Check THIS clock out. It rumbles, it bounces, and it’s hard to turn off. It might just do the trick – if it’s sellotaped inside the pillowcase.