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Weird Wednesday: Fire Protection… “Do You Smell Wasabi?”

Written by Anne Vazquez. Posted in FacilityBlog, Friday Funny, Safety, Topics

Published on November 12, 2008 with No Comments

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”.

The pungent fragrance of Wasabi may save lives.

The pungent fragrance of Wasabi may save lives.

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.

Prototype of SEEMS Inc.'s Wasabi Fire Alarm

Prototype of SEEMS Inc.'s Wasabi 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.

About Anne Vazquez

Anne Vazquez

Vazquez has been writing about facility management since 1996 when she began working at Today's Facility Manager (TFM) as the magazine's Editorial Assistant. From 2000 to 2005, she continued to work in publishing in another subject field until rejoining TFM's editorial team as Managing Editor in February 2005. In September 2012, she was promoted to Editor of TFM, where she continues to seek out solutions and trends for the magazine's facility management audience. Vazquez can be reached at

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