Our campaign has ended. Thanks to the Indiegogo community for making it a success. You can still pre-order Birdi at:
Better than a smoke detector. Birdi tracks air quality, whether it's an everyday health danger like pollution or an emergency like fire and carbon monoxide, to keep your family healthy and safe.
We keep you connected and protected through our device and app. Birdi is packed with sensors to alert you about the quality of the air in your home and neighborhood, giving you tips on how to keep the air you breathe fresh and healthy. In case of emergency, Birdi flashes its lights, sounds the alarm and sends alerts directly to the phones of anyone who needs to know. To ease your mind, you can control it right from both your smartphone and landline. Plus, we’ll never bother you while you’re cooking or trying to get to sleep, unless the emergency is real.
Do you know the quality of the air that you’re breathing? Bad air quality is a leading cause of cancer worldwide, and yet we have no way of tracking and improving it. Birdi is here to let us all breathe a little easier. We monitor the emissions, particles, and pollen that might be bothering you. This is crucial for those of us with respiratory issues like asthma, but also for kids and the elderly who are majorly impacted by pollution, humidity and other air quality issues as they sleep and throughout the day. Join us and let’s get better together.
Birdi's elegant design is meant to be a beautiful addition to your ceiling. It’s the perfect fit to replace your existing smoke alarm with one that easily matches the décor of your baby’s room, bedroom, and kitchen. It's wifi connected, easy to set up, and it’s packed with features to keep you healthy and safe:
Gizmodo – “Every Smart Appliance Should Be As Brilliant As This Smoke Alarm”
Fast Company – “A Smarter Smoke Detector That Tracks The Horrible Air You're Breathing”
AllThingsD – “Perhaps most conveniently, the smoke and CO monitor can be turned off via the smartphone app, as well — so, no more insistent chirping while you stand on a chair trying to quiet your smoke alarm.”
Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night because your smoke detector was chirping about the battery? Birdi is smarter than that. We send you alerts right when you need them. Is the air thick with pollen or pollution? Is there a fire at home? Is someone smoking? Everyone who needs to know will find out right when it matters most. And if the battery is low, we’ll send you a new one a few months in advance, never reminding you at 2am.
Quiet Birdi from your phone before it interrupts your cooking. Before we signal the siren, everyone in the house is alerted to decide whether it’s an emergency, false alarm or still uncertain. Whether you're in the kitchen or on vacation, we'll call the authorities. You'll always know that your pets and home are safe. Birdi learns over time so that you’re only alerted when you need to be.
Indoor air quality is 2-8x worse than outdoor. What's the pollution like in your home right now? Most of us have no idea. Yet we’re seeing asthma rates continue to rise and bad air is now determined to be a leading cause of cancer. Birdi is the only device that both tracks emergencies and gives you tips about how to improve the air for your family and friends. We’re opening that data to developers and scientists with an API so that the brightest people from around the world can help us all take action and improve the air all around us.
If your neighbor’s house is in trouble, you probably need to know. Birdi lets everyone on the block know if there’s an emergency. Have an Airbnb guest? It’s probably best that they’re kept in the loop. Let’s not forget about grandma either. It’ll call her on her landline, and send you a notification that something is wrong. And if there’s a natural disaster on its way like a tornado, flood, or earthquake, your Birdi will signal you. It’s not just about fire anymore.
Birdi can tell you if stale air, dryness and temperature changes are impacting your sleep. Even better, we can help prevent respiratory tract infection, ease cold symptoms and reduce dry skin or itchy eyes by advising on raising the level of indoor humidity. And at a lower cost than devices that only monitor air quality. Plus, you know we'll never disturb you with a low-battery chirp at in the middle of the night.
The Birdi app will always be free. You can connect all of your friends and family in your app so that the right people know if there’s a problem, exactly when they need to. (Even without a wifi internet connection or the advanced features in our service plan, our device is always a beautiful and reliable air monitor and smoke alarm). Our optional and contract-free service plan adds 3 advanced features for a low monthly cost of $9.99, and there is a three month free trial for all our Indiegogo backers. Remember, even without an internet connection or these advanced features, our device is always a beautiful and reliable smoke alarm:
No matter your location or language, we want to make sure that you're part of our flock, and that you're always connected. Beyond the free app service, we can also enable calling you over a landline in 208 countries around the world. You'll also have SMS backup in case there’s no data service on the phone to connect to the app.
We want to deliver you peace of mind. We will mail batteries to you in advance if yours are running low. But only if you want them.
We are there even when you’re not. If you’re stuck in a cell phone dead zone or away on vacation, we'll call 911 so you don't have to. This ensures Birdi is your 24/7 connected safety backup and delivers all the information to authorities as soon as it’s needed.
The fire death rate in the US hasn’t changed in 40 years because so many people have removed the batteries from their existing smoke alarms. We can do better.
Birdi is a participant in PCH International’s incubator program, Highway1. They create, develop and deliver the world’s best products for the world’s best brands. This includes Apple, Beats by Dre and more. So far, we have working prototypes of the device, app, API and services. With your help, we’ll be working on:
● Developing the tooling and manufacturing lines for our final product
● Designing sustainable packaging
● Locking down a clean and transparent supply chain
● Developing our open data API and visualization tools
● Earning product safety certifications
● Shipping to your doorstep
Mark Belinsky, Co-founder & CEO - A socially-minded technologist, he’s developed projects in over 26 countries. Recent work includes building security technologies with Guardian Project and leading the development of Peter Gabriel's new project at the intersection of technology and social good, The Toolbox. He co-founded Digital Democracy and has appeared as a guest on Al-Jazeera English, BBC Radio and NPR, testified at US Congress and consulted with numerous heads of state. @mbelinsky
Justin Alvey, Co-founder & CTO - A socially-minded engineer, he’s built wind turbines for IEEE Engineering Projects in Community Service, worked for Google setting up technology incubators in Africa, worked on creating inverter systems for allowing people living off-grid to make effective use of renewable energy, and worked on a team to build an electric car from the ground up with a Electric Vehicle OEM. @justLV
Harlo Homes, Developer - A software programmer with expertise in security technologies. As research fellow with The Guardian Project, she primarily developed security tools such as digital media steganography, metadata, and the standards surrounding technology in the social sciences. She harnesses her multi-faceted background in service of responding to the growing technological needs of human rights workers, journalists, and other goodniks around the world. @harlo
Damon Ahola, Industrial Design - Damon is a designer with a passion for innovating & creating. He holds a BFA in industrial design. His work has crossed over a multitude of industries including pro audio, medical, packaging & consumer products. He has helped clients such as Weber, 3M, Shure & Pyrex define opportunity spaces & solutions. Previously a senior designer at Radius Product Development in Chicago, he led & collaborated with teams of engineers & other designers to take concepts to market for numerous well-known companies. @damonite1
Jess Seilheimer, Marketing – 14+ yrs marketing and advertising, strategic planning, product and business development experience within CPG, Retail, health & wellness, technology and pharmaceutical verticals; US & Global. Most recently, Jess was the SVP Digital Strategy & Planning at Havas-- where she created and led a digital strategy practice across creative, user experience, account, media and analytics. She a guest lecturer at Columbia Business School and has been published in Alleywatch, eConsultancy and Medical Marketing & Media. @jaeselle
Anselm Hook, Developer – As a maker he has over 20 years of technical leadership experience and is most interested in helping people "see through walls". He served as an Augmented Reality researcher at Xerox Parc, and has built products for Electronic Arts, Dekko, Waze, Math Engine and Ning. @anselm
Our co-founder Mark had the idea for a smart carbon monoxide detector after Hurricane Sandy. His grandmother lives in what was the evacuation zone. When disaster struck, she was left heating her home with her gas stove for weeks, spewing dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide. His goal became to create something that would call her landline phone and walk her through the problem in her native Russian and also send him a push notification to give a heads up that his grandma was in trouble. Looking at existing products, he saw an opportunity to create something that didn't exist.
Instead of simply building a better carbon monoxide detector or smoke alarm, we redesigned the device from the ground up. Existing products already sense what’s in the air, they just don't go far enough. Why not monitor for both emergency and her overall health every day? Thus, Birdi was hatched.
The smart home is an emerging sector that's growing fast. We're excited to interact with the other products in your home. Here's how we differentiate ourselves:
1a: Is Birdi really safe?
We can and will only ship once we adhere to the proper certification standards (UL 217, UL 2034, CE). But these are the bare minimum. We’re going above and beyond to make sure that Birdi is even better than what’s out there. While many alarms only alert once detecting dangerous levels, we show you prolonged exposure to fumes over time and alert you when that becomes just as dangerous.
1b: How many Birdi devices do I need in my home?
The national fire alarm code states that you need one in your bedrooms, hallway, kitchen, living room and basement. Birdi is wirelessly interconnected (a multiple station device) so if there’s an emergency in the kitchen, the siren in the bedroom will sound too.
Note: You can have up to 5 Birdi devices in one location that connect through the free app on your phone. If you subscribe to the service plan you can have an unlimited amount.
1c: Can I buy Birdi for my office or my second home? Or to help me watch over my child, elderly parent or pet?
Of course! And the more you buy, the cheaper they become. Remember: we’re here to make life better and want to help you as much as we can. You can access them all from the same free app or even from a landline, in case grandma doesn’t have an iPhone. Unfortunately, Fido can’t get alerts on his collar just yet, but that's why we're opening up our API to the community.
1d: Does this replace my existing smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarms?
If your battery-operated smoke alarm is working, then you’re in the minority. Most disasters happen not because people don’t have alarms, but because the ones they have don’t have working batteries. Birdi can add protection if you already have some working ones, or it can work as a totally stand-alone system.
One of the benefits of replacing the current system is that all the Birdi’s are wirelessly interconnected together in a flock (multiple station). So if one goes off, they all do, and you’re alerted about the location of the danger through the app.
Plus, with Birdi you decide whether it’s an emergency or false alarm right from your phone so that you don’t have to deal with confusing security systems or third-party notifiers. It could even save you money because those false alarms usually come with fines of $100 and up from the fire department. Each false alarm that we prevent covers the cost of another Birdi, saving you money!
Please note that this device is not officially a smoke and/or CO alarm until it receives certification from the appropriate body, which will happen before it becomes available.
1e: Can I choose the color that best matches my walls?
You spend a lot of time and money decorating your house. We want to help you by blending in. Not only is our design simple and clean, we also come in a number of colors so that it can blend even further. It's our stretch goal to have multiple colors. If we reach $100,000, we'll introduce colors. The first batch is meant to be a beautiful addition to a newborn’s room or to a colorful living room. If you want a certain color, we may include it in the next batch. Just let us know!
1f: Can anyone setup a Birdi?
Yes. Simplicity is core for us. Birdi was designed to streamline setup. The app syncs your wifi settings with your device by singing a custom bird song. It’s our new BirdiSync technology and we think it’s pretty cool. Just take Birdi out of the box, BirdiSync your settings, and place it on the wall. Our universal mount makes ceiling installation easy too. It’s that simple.
1g: Can I get my neighbor a Birdi?
Neighborhoods are physically connected and now they’re digitally connected. If your neighbor has a fire, it’ll alert you too (if they've opted in). It’s safer than finding out by hearing the fire trucks roll up. At that point, it might be too late.
1h: Is it available in my country and/or language?
Birdi is international. We’re available for worldwide shipping. This is tricky, so there’s an additional charge for supporters outside of the USA (sorry!).
We speak a bunch of languages (and growing!). Currently we communicate in: Arabic (العربية), Chinese (中文简体), English, French (Français), Russian (Русский), Spanish (Español), Afrikaans, Pirate (Yarrrrr). If you want to translate Birdi into another language, we’ll add it to our app and credit you on our site as an awesome person: https://www.transifex.com/organization/birdi
The certifications we’re obtaining reach far and wide, but please be aware that if they don’t comply with your local safety regulations, you should not use this product as a safety device.
Be aware of any additional costs you may be responsible for, such as import fees or VAT. We’re working on setting this up so that you don’t have to worry about it, but aren’t there yet.
2a: What are the shipping costs?
Free shipping in the USA. While we are committed to being international, global shipping is more difficult for us at his stage and so has an additional cost. Please be aware that we do not include extra fees from customs or any other additional costs associated with countries outside the USA. While we're confident that we will function well around the world, there is no guarantee that this will work in your country due to climate & connectivity issues. Of course, if we find out that shipping isn't possible, or if we find out any other issues regarding your country your perk will be reimbursed.
2b: When is the soonest I can get a Birdi connected in my home?
Incubating a hardware is similar in ways to incubating a child. Working with our manufacturers to take this to full term, we've collectively planned shipping to start 9 months after our campaign ends and after we know the scale of our first run. We're doing all that we can to ship the perks that we promised and estimate shipping to begin in October 2014. This is after we've also completed the time-consuming process of receiving the necessary safety certifications to deliver you the safest possible product. We promise that our campaign supporters will be the very first to have them once they ship. If you're planning to have a child, now is the perfect time to reserve yours!
3a: Will Birdi work with Android, Blackberry, Shnosberry, etc?
We are designing Birdi so that it will work with any web-enabled device, with extra features to enhance the experience in our native app. Prior to launch, we are developing for iOS and Android.
3b: Can I use multiple phones with my Birdi?
Yes. The app is free and one Birdi device can connect to several smartphones and landlines. Whether they're family or friends, little Birdi tells everyone.
3c: How is Birdi powered? What happens if the power or WiFi goes out?
The first version of Birdi runs on batteries and communicates over wifi. If the batteries are running low, we'll send you an alert way in advance and send you a new battery way before the old one runs out. We're happy to do anything we can to make you breathe a little easier. Since we operate over wifi, if it does happen to go out, the device becomes a regular smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, sounding the siren if it senses danger. In the worst case scenario, Birdi will still be a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. We'll also let you know if the wifi has gone down for any significant amount of time. Down the road, we may even help you send a frustrated letter to your service provider, because we know that not having wifi is no joke.
3d: What voltage does Birdi Support?
Birdi comes with standard AA batteries. You can find them just about anywhere in the world. This is part of our plan to always be as accessible as possible.
3e: How long do the batteries last?
Our AA batteries last for about 2 years. We’ll warn you when they’re getting low and send you a new set if you’re subscribed to our service.
3f: How long does the carbon monoxide (CO) sensor last?
We can guarantee a 7-year lifespan due to existing government regulations. But our device learns over time and will update the settings as it calibrates to your home over the years. Our Carbon Monoxide sensor is pre-certified with UL2034, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure it can keep on protecting you as long as possible beyond those 7 years without needing replacement.
3g: Can Birdi detect other emergencies like tornados, earthquakes or alien invasions?
Yes. We'll be introducing geo-fenced alerts for emergencies. There was a time when a local emergency would cause the civil defense siren to sound and we'd turn on our radios to wait for instructions. This system doesn't work well for a lot of people anymore. We seek to augment the existing systems by sounding the alarm in your home too, so that you have added protection when you're home. If there's a sudden local emergency like a tornado, flood, or otherwise, our device will sound the alarm. If there's an alien invasion, well, we all have bigger problems. But we will find a way to let you know, and get to work on creating a new translation set. This feature will be in the experimental phase and only available in certain areas until we can roll it out fully.
3h: Can I mount Birdi on a wall or ceiling?
Birdi was designed to seamlessly blend in with the ceiling. It can also work on a wall in certain situations where it can still detect smoke, as in accordance with fire codes.
3i: Do multiple Birdi devices communicate with each other?
Birdi devices are wirelessly interconnected and function as a multiple station smoke alarm. If it goes off in the kid’s room, it also goes off in the kitchen. This generally works they’re 50ft (15m) apart or closer. Some features may reduce their range, like the type of building material, ductwork, or other large metallic objects.
3j: Does Birdi work with my existing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?
Birdi is a multiple station smoke alarm so that when it goes off in the kitchen, it also goes off in the bedroom. However, it only works that way with other Birdi devices. Other companies have proprietary systems that we can’t communicate with. Similarly, some devices have a wired interconnect between devices.
4a: What are the health impacts of PM 2.5?
The air we’re breathing is causing cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has now classed air pollution in the same category as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and plutonium. PM 2.5 relates to fine particles, which contain large amounts of toxic and hazardous substances that stick in your lungs. Causes include cooking emissions, oil soot, and industrial processes, as well as second-hand smoke. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-24564446
4b: How do you detect smoke?
We use a photoelectric sensor, which uses a beam of light to detect smoke. These alarm types are most effective for typical residential fires, that originate from a smoldering source, which can also fill a home with dangerous gases even before the fire ever erupts.
Older smoke detectors used ionization sensors, which use radioactive material to detect small particles entering the chamber. These ionization sensors were originally designed to detect heat, not smoke, and so do not respond fast or at all to slow smoldering, smoky fires which are the most common types of residential fires. These were typically used due to their significantly lower cost. Common belief is that one of these ionization sensors is necessary for flaming fires, but research done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has shown that during a flame ignition fire, the photoelectric smoke detector has only a 3.99% probability of a failure to detect the fire whereas the ionization detector probability of failure is as high as 19.8%. Besides that, ionization sensors have been the largest cause of nuisance alarms (in one case, 97% of devices tested for nuisance alarms were ionization-type). This frustration encourages homeowners to remove or disable their smoke alarms. Given the significant amount of research testifying to their poor performance and unreliable nature, we believed that the future of smoke detection should not rely on using cheap sensors that use radioactive material. http://fire.nist.gov
4c: Wait, the smoke alarm on my ceiling has radioactive materials?
About 90% of existing smoke alarms do. They use ionization to react to fires. These ionization chamber smoke detectors contain radioactive material. The radiation source is a small disc, about 3 to 5 millimeters in diameter, weighing about 0.5 gram and made of americium-241 in a gold matrix. Because they are inexpensive, ionization detectors are more common. We decided that radiation wasn’t a good idea for our device. You can learn more about the different types of smoke alarms here - http://www.ul.com/global/eng/pages/corporate/newsroom/storyideas/smokealarms
4d: What about cigarette smoke?
You’re covered. If you have a strict no smoking policy, you can enforce it. We can even track the amount of smoking that’s happening.
4e: Why should I be more concerned about carbon monoxide (CO)?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very serious threat and we strive to do everything we can to prevent this silent killer.
It is an extremely deadly, colorless and odorless gas, not to be confused with carbon dioxide (CO2). In small amounts, it replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream, causing suffocation usually without any obviously apparent symptoms. It is released in varying amounts by most combustion sources, such as boilers, stoves, car exhausts, smoking, space heaters and even the pilot flames in your gas stove. Symptoms of poisoning include dull headaches, weakness and dizziness, which are not good enough indicators on their own to let us know that something is dangerously wrong.
Other carbon monoxide sensors are only supposed to alert you when threateningly high levels are sustained. These detectors give you no idea of your exposure until it is an emergency and it starts beeping. At that point, carbon monoxide poisoning may have already caused confusion and delirium, leaving you in a state where you can't act on the alarm effectively.
These devices are not meant to alarm for at least 30 days at 30ppm, which is enough exposure to cause headaches and dizziness within 6 hours. At 70+ppm, the alarm only has to start in 60-240 minutes.
With the Birdi app you will be able to track your CO in your home with about 2ppm accuracy. You'll be able to spot a leak long before it gets to a dangerous level, so that you can act on it and get the help that you need. You'll get a detailed message from Birdi explaining exactly what to do and if it's an emergency, we'll alert the right people as quickly as possible.
4f: What can I do if the air is bad?
We give you tips that you can use. If the air is bad, we’ll send you warnings. You can set your level of sensitivity to be less or more informed. If the air is better outside than inside, we may tell you to open a window. If not, we’ll tell you that’s not a great idea. And we’ll help direct you to air purifiers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and plants that can help improve the conditions inside your home. Our marketplace will use the data from our devices to tell you which purifiers are working the best, so that you can make informed purchases based on real results.
4g: How does air impact my sleep?
Bad air means bad sleep. It can reduce the quality of sleep but more dangerously, air pollution increases the risk of sleep-disordered breathing, a group of disorders including sleep apnea, in which breathing stops briefly during sleep. Up to 17% of U.S. adults have sleep-disordered breathing, according to Antonella Zanobetti, PhD, a senior research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/20100617/air-pollution-linked-to-sleep-breathing-problems. If humidity is too low, skin gets dry and chapped and it can exacerbate psoriasis and quickly lead to respiratory disease. If humidity is too high mold can proliferate in your home.
4h: How does air impact my child’s sleep?
Air dangers are especially acute with children and the elderly. Babies have sensitive skin and even more sensitive respiratory systems. During the winter-time, when central heaters are turned on and indoor humidity drops to 10 percent or less, the dry air can irritate a baby’s skin, nose, and lungs. This cold, dry air also helps viruses to grow. Furthermore, when babies come down with a cold or respiratory infection, they cannot take the same over-the-counter drugs that an older child or an adult can; their small bodies are too fragile for strong medicines. For all of these reasons, pediatricians frequently recommend humidifiers for babies, especially in dry climates.
4i: How does monitoring for carbon dioxide (CO2) help me?
Carbon dioxide (not to be confused by carbon monoxide, the extremely deadly gas that we also monitor for) is produced by almost all living things, especially us.
Long exposure to small amounts can affect your concentration, energy levels and can cause headaches. But besides that, a buildup of CO2 indoors means that you have not gotten fresh air in your house for a while, which is an indicator of other harmful effects, such as the buildup of fumes slowly given off by your furniture, paint and other household compounds, or just an indicator that it’s time to open some windows. In that case, we will be able to let you know.
Larger levels of carbon dioxide can buildup in areas that store carbonated beverages, or when there is some form of combustion occuring. Levels of around 3% will cause you to start breathing at twice your normal rate, and cause dizziness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, while above 10% can cause suffocation. But Birdi will warn you and the people that need to know long before that happens.
4j: Do you monitor for mold?
By tracing particulates in the air and following humidity levels, we’re able to help warn that mold might be growing. Edward Olmsted, an industrial hygienist in Garrison, N.Y., puts it best: "Mold is like a factory that produces billions of spores," he said. "The factory runs only when moisture is available. Eliminate the moisture, and you shut down the factory." While we can’t yet monitor for mold itself, we can warn you about moisture levels.
4k: Do you monitor for radon or gas?
No. Exposure to radon in the home is responsible for an estimated 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the USA. That’s more than drunk driving. Radon is a radioactive gas that poses a serious health hazard. We don’t detect for that or gas leaks, but you should. Learn more about how to do that here - http://www.epa.gov/radon/pubs/citguide.html
4l: Do you help prevent sick building syndrome?
Yes. The following causes have been cited as contributing factors, according to the EPA: inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), stale air, biological contaminants and more. We both monitor and give tips on how to improve air-flow based on the air both indoors and outside.
How secure is it?
Our security is as strong as a bank, if not stronger. All communication between your Birdi, the cloud and the app is encrypted over SSL (HTTPS).
5a: How private is my information?
All of your information is private and visible only to you and people in your inner circle who you specifically invite to see it. Any data available through the API is abstracted so that an individual's information is never visible.
5c: Can I turn it off for privacy?
You can, though we don’t recommend it. At any point, your device can become a regular smoke alarm if there's either no internet connection or if you choose the privacy mode where it will stop broadcasting. Birdi keeps your information private and accessible only by those you choose to trust.
6a: Can it monitor Carbon Monoxide if its mounted on the ceiling?
Yes. According to the CO guidelines of the National Fire Protection Association, carbon monoxide alarms should “be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms,” and each alarm should “be located on the wall, ceiling or other location” according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
There’s a common myth that carbon monoxide (CO) sensors are supposed to be placed at “knee height” because CO is heavier than air. CO is actually slightly lighter than air and diffuses evenly through rooms. Besides, the source of carbon monoxide is usually warm, like a boiler. In this case the carbon monoxide containing air will be more likely to rise to higher areas of your home. Typical sensors are often plugged into wall outlets as a convenient power source, placing them close to the floor in rooms.
Besides, we give you pre-warnings that show you visualizations of carbon monoxide levels, even if they’re not yet an emergency.
6b: Does it work with… (my connected lock, camera, security system, etc.)?
Our OpenAPI will allow certain integrations to work out of the box. As a regulated security device, there are certain difficulties with opening the platform SDK and ensuring the required reliability. At the same time, we believe a truly smart home is an open one.
6c: Will there be an SDK or API?
Birdi would love to have an SDK. Unfortunately, this is a device to ensure security and because of that have to limit some functionality. Having an open API is very important to us too and this we can achieve. We want to give everyone more details about the air we're all breathing and want data scientists to help develop those insights and developers to create cool new solutions.
7a: What are the challenges?
Smoke alarms tend to be annoying. And air quality devices are confusing and expensive. While the sensors exist and are reliable, combining the functionality is truly unique and there's nothing else out there which comes even close. We're working with the top manufacturing experts to bring this device into every home with realistic and achievable deadlines and promise to be open and transparent about any delays that come up which are beyond our control.
7b: Where are you crafting this product?
Birdi is designed in Brooklyn, developed in San Francisco, and manufactured in Shenzhen. Deciding where to produce products is never easy these days. For Birdi, we started at the Cleanweb Hackathon in NYC and worked on our industrial design and graphic design from there. Then we joined Highway1 in San Francisco and started building the next iterations of the technology, beyond our initial prototype. For manufacturing, we needed to go to China, the sensor capital of the world, since our product is packed full of them. Throughout, we want to make sure that our production process is transparent and sustainable. If you’d like, you can even see who we’re working with and learn about the conditions there. It’s important to us that everyone who touches Birdi is positively affected and that includes the workers who build our product to the customers who enjoy it.
7c: How environmentally friendly are you?
It’s important to us that making Birdi doesn’t have a negative impact on air quality. We’re making Birdi as green as possible from the packaging to the casing to the factories that they’re built in. While every other smoke detector and air quality monitor is made from oil, ours is actually made from pollution. That’s right, we’re removing pollution from the air to make our case. It’s recaptured CO2, and we hope to set a precedent for other companies to follow suit. Our production line has a team of specialists to constantly monitor it to find ways to improve environmental sustainability. Worker health as social sustainability is important to us too. So much that Birdi is available in some of the factories so that we can monitor the air there and work to improve it. And of course, our packaging is 100% recycled and recyclable. Once the sensors are no longer active, around 7-10 years depending on our testing, we’ll help guide you to local recycling facilities to reduce the environmental impact at the product’s end of life.
7d: Who made your video?
We were lucky to work with Prashant Bhargava as the director. You’d be pretty lucky to work with him and his team too. Check him out: www.prashant.tv
7e: Who made the music for your video?
The guys at WE Sound Labs were incredible to work with. Quick, responsive and solid. http://wesoundlabs.com
7f: Does it work for the deaf, blind or otherwise handicapped?
We're doing what we can to make sure that our system works for people with all kinds of disabilities, in ways that traditional smoke alarms never have. Curtis from Florida reached out to us early in our development and mentioned that he lives with two deaf people. He requested that we build Birdi with accessibility in mind and we responded. In addition to the visual alerts that people receive on their phones in case they can’t hear the alarm, we also have a color-coded system (green for good, red for trouble), that flash from the device. Since nearly 10% of the country is color blind, we also make sure that it flashes in different patterns depending on the state of the emergency.
7g: Does the device talk?
Birdi sends you verbal notifications directly to your phone, otherwise, we sound the alarm, blasting the siren as loud as we can so that you and your loved ones can get to safety. Our service also talks directly to 911, letting the right people know about the emergency as soon as possible.
7h: How loud is the siren?
LOUD. Regulations mean that the alarm has to be 85 decibels (dB) at 3 feet, which is critical in an emergency. We’re louder. How loud is that? Well to give you some idea, a train whistle is 90dB at 500 feet.
7i: Did you change your name?
We were initially called Canary, as in the “canary in a coal mine” that would tell you if there’s a gas leak by dying. That was pretty morbid, besides, there are a lot of products on the market called Canary from the past few decades. We like the “a little birdy told me” analogy a lot more.
7j: Design change?
Our designs are explorations around the core idea of a bird. We’ve looked at elements like flower, nest, egg and more. The initial design was base