In 2016, FEMA recorded a total of 364,300 house fires. Of those, over half were caused by cooking. Thanks to numbers like that, cooking has steadily been the number one cause of house fires around the world.
Home fires can be devastating, resulting in ungodly expenses, emotional burden, and death in some cases. There are a lot of ways we can work to prevent these from happening, and one company that's trying to do just that is Safera. It's been working to avoid stove-related fires since 2007, and later this year, the company's launching its most ambitious product yet with Safera Sense.
Safera Sense is a small rectangular tube that you stick above your stovetop. Setup takes just about two minutes, and once it's ready to go, it consists of three main components — Cooking Safety, Air Quality, and Smart Cooking. I got a chance to see the Safera Sense in person at IFA GPC 2019 last month, and I'm pretty damn excited to start using it for myself.
Cooking Safety is the most essential aspect of the Sense, and in these regards, the primary function is to make sure your stove is never left unattended. Because, let's face it, we've all wrapped up a cooking session and forgot to turn off the oven at one point or another.
Safera Sense is outfitted with an array of sensors, allowing it to detect your presence near the stove and the stove's temperature. If you leave the stove on and end up walking away, the Sense will start beeping and flashing red to get your attention. If the Sense detects your stove is getting too hot, it'll alert you to turn on your cooker hood. These are two small alerts, but two significant things that could quite possibly prevent disaster from striking.
Safera Sense does all of that on its own just hovering above your stove, but if you purchase an optional power control unit that's installed between your stove and power outlet, the Sense can go a step further by turning your stove off for you if don't respond to an alert within a few seconds. The tech Safera's created to do this is open, and the company's working with stove manufacturers to eventually get this feature built right into new models off the shelf, but considering most people don't go out and buy a new stove all the time, I really like that there's an aftermarket solution to get this expanded functionality on what you already have.
On a similar note, let's talk Air Quality. Safera Sense is designed to measure a variety of air quality levels, including the air quality index, temperature, humidity and more. With this tech, you can get detailed insights on the air quality of your home and see when it's time to ventilate it — not quite as critical information as the safety features, but still an excellent addition to have nonetheless.
Here's where things get really exciting, at least for me.
All of the data that Safera Sense collects is stored in the Safera mobile app, available first for iOS and then coming to Android at a later date. Through the app, you can see detailed graphs on your air quality and warnings for any cooking safety alerts that have popped up — giving you a welcome visual history of your cooking timeline and how it's been affecting your home.
Taking things a step further, this is where Safera Sense's Smart Cooking features come into play. Taking advantage of all the sensors used for the safety and air quality features, Safera's also made the Sense a device to help make you a better cook. Sense can automatically detect different cooking events and use that information to lend a helping hand. For example, if Sense detects you're boiling water, the app will show you how long it'll take for the water boil, when it started boiling, when you took a lid on or off, etc. Cooking past and forgot how long it's been in the pot? Sense automatically keeps track of that for you. Need to set a timer for searing steak? The Safera Sense makes those for you on your behalf.
That's already pretty cool on its own, but Safera says it hopes to expand these features down the road. Future software updates could bring things like detailed recipes to follow for an entire meal, and later on, a future version of the Sense might come with a camera so you can record and share your cooking on YouTube, Instagram, or wherever else you'd like.
I've been a big advocate of all things smart home tech since I got my first Amazon Echo in 2014, and if the Safera Sense works as well as it's being marketed, it has potential to be one of the most important gadgets you buy this year.
Stove safety isn't a particularly sexy thing to talk about, but I think we can all agree that it's wildly important. If I can buy a device that could quite possibly save my home from burning to the ground, I'm all about that. The Smart Cooking features aren't nearly as essential, but if that's another way for Safera to get more of these in people's homes, good for them.
Will everyone share my take on the Sense? That I'm not so certain about. I'm of the mindset that I'm willing to pay for things like the Nest Thermostat and Roomba that make mundane things around my home easier or more convenient, but I can certainly see some people taking one look at the Sense and thinking it's just another piece of tech to make us lazier. I don't buy into that argument one bit, but I do think it's a challenge Safera may have to overcome.
That's particularly important because you can't actually buy the Safera Sense yet. It's launching via an Indiegogo campaign, and while backing products on crowdfunding sites is out of a lot of people's comfort zone, keep in mind that Safera's been around for 12 years and has two other products in its portfolio. The Sense should launch at some point this year or next for $150 USD, but if you back it on Indiegogo, you'll be able to snag a 47% discount.
We'll hopefully learn more about the Safera Sense at IFA 2019 in Berlin this September, and hopefully not too long after that, people can start getting these things in their homes to make themselves just a little bit safer.
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