Smoke detector of the future being developed locally

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A local creation could reshape fire safety in the home and workplace. SENTELLIGENCEone has a prototype to more quickly detect fires.

The company, with offices in downtown Indianapolis, Boston and Australia, has spent the last year developing the Smart Ambient Air Monitor, or SAAM. Leaders with the company said the device uses a spectrometer to monitor wavelengths that can detect fires.

"Everything has a spectral signature," said SENTELLIGENCEone CEO, Rob Qualls.

Spectrometers tend to be huge pieces of equipment. Like many advancements, they came down in size and price. Qualls said they have a spectrometer that's the size of a quarter.

"We use spectral and optical instruments to detect containments within the air, within fluids, and within solids," Qualls said.

Carmel Fire Department's spokesperson, Tim Griffin, said for smoke detectors to go off, smoke has to reach the device in your home today.

SENTELLIGENCEone said the SAAM can detect fire much quicker.

"Today's smoke detector, or electromechanical device, can take up to ten minutes to sense a smoke, to give you that alert," said Greg Stewart, the company's vice executive president. "Our device can detect at 0.1 seconds up to 10 seconds."

The company said the device can find CO, CO2, and mold. It can also detect hydrocarbons, found in petroleum products.

"You think about all the things our houses and the products in our houses are made of, they’re all petroleums," Griffin said. "They’re all plastics. Those burn at such a higher rate."

The company still needs to take the prototype SAAM to the factory line so testing can begin. That could happen within the next nine months. Qualls said the device could hit shelves as early as within the next two years, with a $150 to $200 price tag at introduction.

Qualls and Stewart said the SAAM could detect as many as 16 different toxic gases. Those options could be for large industrial warehouses that work with chemicals or used for chemical and nuclear detection with the military.

The SAAM would connect to smart devices to alert homeowners even when they're not home. It would also notify users about a low battery that would need changed.

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