Pre-order The Roost: A 9-Volt That Gives Smoke Detectors Notifications

Pre-order The Roost: A 9-Volt That Gives Smoke Detectors Notifications

Back in January we got our first hands-on with the Roost at CES, but anyone who's ever used a 9-volt battery is already familiar with the product. The only difference is that this 9-volt includes built-in wifi to give your standard smoke detector the ability to send alerts to your smartphone.

Once paired with a free accompanying app using a clever process where the battery listens for a special coded tone from a mobile device, the Roost plugs into any smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, or even water leak detector that accepts a standard 9-volt battery. It stays connected to your home's wifi network at all times, and when it hears the detector's alarm sound, it automatically sends out a mobile alert to whatever devices you have configured in your Roost account — be it your phone, your partner's, or even your neighbour's.

Pre-order The Roost: A 9-Volt That Gives Smoke Detectors Notifications

It is hands down the easiest way to add smart features to all the 9-volt powered safety detectors in your home without having to replace them. And the batteries are finally available to consumers from Roost's website, or Amazon, shipping sometime in September.

Individually they will sell for $US35 each, with no subscription to an online service required. You can also get two-packs at a slightly discounted $US65. Like regular 9-volts the Roost battery will die after a few years, but they thankfully don't need to be completely replaced. It actually splits in two letting you swap out just the battery section with a $US15 replacement to keep it running.

There's a good chance that if you were to buy your parents a smart home system, you'd be spending a lot of time on the phone helping them to set it up. But the Roost is designed to be as easy to use as the 9-volt batteries it's designed to replace.


A Smart 9-Volt Battery Adds Phone Notifications to Any Smoke Detector

There are plenty of smart smoke detectors on the market that connect to your home's Wi-Fi network to provide smartphone notifications when there's trouble, but they're an expensive upgrade to the dumb smoke detector you've (hopefully) already got watching over your home. The $US40 Roost promises pretty much the same functionality as those smart alternatives, but on the cheap, upgrading only the 9-volt battery your smoke or carbon monoxide detector already relies on.

Battery life is rated at an impressive five years, even while the Roost is connected to your home's Wi-Fi network. But that's because the Roost pretty much sits completely dormant until it detects your smoke detector's deafening screech. At that point the Roost springs to life, connecting to your home's Wi-Fi network in order to send notifications to your smartphone.

A Smart 9-Volt Battery Adds Phone Notifications to Any Smoke Detector

The Roost is even smart enough to know when its own battery is dying, sending you a notification that it's time to swap it out before the detector starts its own annoying chirp. And in the final version of the Roost (that's a prototype pictured above) the bottom half that contains the actual battery can be swapped with a $US10 replacement — giving you five more years of added protection. [Roost]

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    Knowing my luck, my wifi will be the source of the smoke.

    Make the battery Usb rechargable and you have a sale (or many).

    im not sure why this is marketed to being used in smoke detectors, considering that smoke detectors already have a satisfactory warning alert. Im sure there's plenty of other devices that it might be more useful in.

      ... Unless a website acts a middle man between Roost over wifi and your Phone via an app?

      It's useful to know (if your away from your house) that your smoke detector is going off.

      Especially if your home doesn't have any 3rd party monitoring for your alarm system.

      Last edited 09/01/15 9:45 am

        that doesn't make any sense... smoke alarms are only useful if you're IN the house to hear them go off. If you're away from your house, what's the point ? you're not going to hear the alarm anyway.

        ... i also imagine you need to be in the vicinity of the battery for it to work. What you need is a smoke alarm that notifies your phone when a fire is detected. However, if you do happen to call the fire brigade and it's a false alarm, you can be fined quite heavily. I suppose you could call a neighbour to check on the house.

          It uses the internet to notify your smartphone the alarm us going off.

          You would call a friend or family member who lives close by first, before the fire brigade.

          Obviously how useful for you that is will depend on your circumstances.

          It also helps if a security camera is connected to your WiFi, as you can verify if it's real or not much easier.

            my understanding of the battery is that it warns you that the battery itself is going flat. not that there's a fire.

              Thanks. I'll find out in a week or so. The pre-orders/early backers for these are only just being shipped now. I got the DHL notification on the weekend (with other e-mails from kickstarter , the smart roost website, etc).

            yeah this is actually handy for a lot of people.. i for instance go to work for a 12hr shift with my 3d printer doing a 20hr print.. i have a lot of shit in my house that i don't want to burn so why not have something like this to minimise damages. Perfect.

            Yes i have live streaming video to log in and check on my print etc and can remotely stop it if it fucks up but i cant watch the stream all hours of the day, only takes 5 minutes for a house fire to get out of control and burn your house down!

      Step into holiday/rental markets - for no smoking places this is great. If the tenants take the batteries out or smoke their drugs/cigarettes the landlord will be notified - considering the huge cost of trying to fix a place that's been smoked in for a week this is great!

    Er, dunno about that. Isn't the purpose of the battery to be a backup if the mains power fails? From the article it sounds like all the battery does is wait for the alarm to go off then ping you with a wifi signal. Isn't the reason we need to replace the 9v once a year to ensure that the battery is will work if the mains fails? Surely, this company would make more money just selling a 9v battery that lasts 5 years in a smoke alarm (and does the job it's intended to).

      Alarms which need batteries swapped every year tend to be not connected to mains power. All of the alarms around my house are just battery powered.

      Probably they meant that the wifi isn't transmitting any data until the alarm status changes.
      (I haven't fact checked this story).

      Also if this does give 5 years power, that is pretty good/ convenient, but if it were a rechargeable unit as some suggested, it would probably last less than 1 year, as Primary batteries contain far more energy than any equivalent Secondary battery(Rechargeable).

      Last edited 09/01/15 9:38 am

        Also, noticed it's a Li-Ion rechargeable battery. Irony would be if the damn thing caught fire. Also, my smoke detectors are all hard-wired in to the mains, so I don't need to change the battery every year, then?

          I had a look at the roost website too, it does say lithium-ion on the preorder page, but this is probably incorrect.
          Lithium-ion is usually used to denote a rechargeable lithium battery with any type of lithium chemistry, while the non rechargeable batteries are usually just called a lithium battery.

          Another part of their web site just states:
          (Press release 10.21.2014)
          "The patent-pending Roost Smart Battery uniquely combines a lithium battery and advanced Wi-Fi in a familiar 9V package." No mention of "ion"

          For reliable power, non-rechargeable batteries are much better than rechargeables which store varying amounts of energy as they age, and are recharged many times.

    My pre-order for one of these just got dispatched on the weekend and is being sent from the US via DHL.


    Presently living in NZ. NZ won't allow any batteries to be imported via mail. Would anybody know if this is freely available in AU now?

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