We've seen several graduation projects from Europe lately, so we were glad to receive this project from Matthew Crowley, a product design major at Stanford's D-School, in the inbox. The "Canary" is the capstone project of Crowley and his two partners, Matt Blum and Laren Meleney.
Canary is a modern carbon monoxide detector created with young families in mind. Using multiple sensor technologies, this friendly device provides a delightful interaction that gives users the piece of mind that their loved ones are safe. Canary also doubles as a nightlight, only turning on when a room becomes dark. This feature is not only useful, but also encourages proper placement of the carbon monoxide detector in hallways outside of bedrooms and inside of bedrooms themselves.
The real innovation, of course, is that it puts the notorious CO detector within arms' reach, and an outlet is a small price to pay for the safety and convenience of a wall-powered device. To this end, the "Canary" has several additional features beyond the friendly form factor and backlight:
To prevent child tampering, it also has the option of installing securely to a standard wall outlet with a unique twist-to-lock mechanism, and rather than using a noisy "test" button, Canary's functionality can be silently tested with the wave of a hand. Our goal with Canary was to bring simplicity and comfort to something that so far has only been sold through fear and mandate. Canary takes on a responsibility. It crosses a task off your list; it protects the ones you love. Canary looks after your nest.
While it's ostensibly less ambitious than, say, the "Nest" learning thermostat, the "Canary" certainly provides a vital service for any household, and like the "Nest," it marks an innovation in a niche that is sorely lacking. (No word on whether there is a full lineup of avian-inspired household devices in the works.)
Lots more process on Crowley's project page.