Next to not being able to listen to music, one can imagine that one of the worst aspects of being deaf is the inability to hear warning signs. Thankfully, Air Water Safety Service, a fire extinguisher company based out of Kobe, Japan, and Seems, a bioventure in Tokyo, have developed a device that warns the deaf of impending fire that isn’t dependent on a shrill noise.
The device, which measures in at a small eight inches by three inches, emits the pungent aroma of allyl isothiocyanate, the chemical compound responsible for giving foods such as wasabi and mustard that pleasant kick guaranteed to clear the sinuses.
The device was tested on subjects that were completely deaf, as well as those with normal hearing. In each case, every subject, regardless of hearing, woke up within approximately two and a half minutes.
Given the potential for the allyl isothiocyanate to make the eyes water, further tests were performed to determine the ideal intensity to prevent watery eyes from occurring.
The device, which was introduced in 2009, currently goes for around $560, though rumors are swirling around that suggest the device my be redesigned, which would bring the price down to approximately $225. Despite this high price, however, is a growing interest in the device, as a hotel in Nagoya has expressed interest in the device.