The New York Times reports about an innovative smoke detector:
Matthew Ferris, 27, and Bruce Black, 29, were in a master’s of business program at the University of Georgia, when they heard about a patent for a talking smoke detector.
Children can sleep through almost anything, including very loud fire alarms, but Mr. Ferris and Mr. Black decided that what they called the cocktail party effect – that a person’s own name or a familiar voice cuts through a haze of chatter – might penetrate the deeper sleep cycles of children.
As the pair polished the idea, they won regional competitions pitting business plans against one another. They also won a national contest; the grand prize was a $100,000 equity investment. Last November, they got their first marketable detectors, ready for sale at $69.95. After making the rounds of trade shows and fire conventions, they set up a small booth in an out-of-the-way spot at the electronics show. As a result, in the first quarter of this year, they will ship at least 25,000 KidSmart Vocal Smoke Detectors to about 30 clients.