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Sense+ is a smart dock and App combining the latest smoke/carbon monoxide detectors with a fully programmable response through the App
Tonic Product Design
Seattle, Washington
United States
4 Team Members


Docking Station / Smoke - Gas Sensor and App

You are asleep, your phone is in its dock beside your bed, and deadly cool toxic smoke from a smoldering fire starts slowly filling your room. Traditional ionization ceiling mounted smoke alarms work well for fast fires but can take around 20 minutes or more to detect this cool smoke by which time you may not wake up.

This is where Sense+ technology could save you and house hold members. The Sense+ is the first ever portable smart device docking station and charger with built in Photo Electric smoke and gas detection sensors. The Sense+ also ‘talks’ to a smart App on your phone offering unique personal protection options.
‘Photo-Electric’ smoke sensors are the latest (and in most cases the best) smoke detectors available. They can detect deadly cold smoke that some traditional smoke alarms have difficulty sensing. By combining the photoelectric sensor with a carbon monoxide (the gas that makes you too sleepy to wake up) sensor you get secondary technology as a backup which may work better depending on the nature of the threat.

If smoke is detected, an alert will sound and the Sense+ App will start up on the iPhone. If there is no response, an alarm will sound and the app on your phone will call numbers listed in your home call group. An alert screen offering emergency services will then be displayed.

The Sense+ draws its power from the grid (mains power) or the docked smart device. If these are not available it also has a built-in battery as a backup.

Sense+ is intended as an additional level of protection to ‘in-house’ smoke alarms and is intended to help provide sufficient advance warning to allow you to react and potentially save your life and the lives of those around you. Worldwide there are over 195,000 fire related deaths1 every year and an unspecified number related to carbon monoxide poisoning plus hundreds of thousands of people injured in such events. In the U.S. alone one, person is killed in a fire every 169 minutes and someone is injured every 30 seconds (Karter 2011). 

  •  About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes (Karter 2011).
  •  In 2010, fire departments responded to 384,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,640 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,350, not including firefighters (Karter 2011). 
  • The total costs of injuries to the U.S. economy, $7.5 billion (2006) each year. 
  • Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns (Hall 2001). 
  • Over one-third (37%) home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms (Ahrens 2011).

Most households have smoke alarms but many of them aren't in working order, usually due to flat batteries or batteries having been removed. A device such as Sense+ in a household may help to prevent many of these deaths. 

The team behind the Sense+ were inspired after reading several media reports of multiple tragedies and near misses in fires where no working smoke alarms were installed in the home/hotel/cabin... Smoke inhalation meant the occupants were unable to wake up and get themselves and their families to safety. By studying Smart phone owners habits the team came up with the idea of combining an everyday personal item such as a mobile phone (often placed beside the users bed) with a smart smoke and gas warning system. 

The Sense+ is designed for use with Apple’s iPhone5. However other smart devices can connect via a USB port. Future versions are planned to be native for Android and Windows phones. This is simply a matter of swapping the inner core module with one for your type of phone/device. Designed to be portable, the Sense+ is a great travel charger and smoke/gas sensor. 

iPad or other smartphone can be connected via USB port at back

Lengthy prototype development and testing against both photo electric and ionization smoke alarms was completed in combined with Smart App development. The results are a robust, sleek, multi-functional smart device which has the ability to be upgraded. 

'Gun Metal' finish option

Unlike traditional ionization smoke detectors the Sense+ uses no radioactive materials and is designed to be upgradable and recyclable. 

1 World Health Organization statistics

How it works overview


Beta prototype testing

We are working hard gearing up for production, here are the final housings being tested before final PCB design testing.

Pre-Production Prototyping printouts of final housing for test assembilies.

Prototype of 'Dock Only'

Prototype of 'Dock Only'



T-shirt designs

Shipping product

As professional Industrial Designers with over 30 years combined experience developing products we have the necessary skill set and manufacturing partners to allow us to overcome obstacles that occur during the development of a product. With the Sense+ we have sourced and tested most components but we are still at the mercy of OEM’s like Apple and cannot predict updates/changes to their smart devices that may effects our lead-times. However we have an experienced and capable team and feel comfortable delivering on our promise.


We have produced machined and printed parts for assembly evaluation and shared these with our vendors to hone the design so that what you see in the this presentation we can deliver on. All details have now been finalized and we are ready to go to tooling. 

Our manufacturing partners are vetted by us and we have worked with them for many years and have trust in each other’s ability to produce what we design.

Our preferred manufacturing partners have all given us assurances that they can deliver in the indicated timeframe and will guarantee their work, however there may still be things do still come up that can cause delays. We have done our best to mitigate possible holdups by working with known vendors, conduct testing of all electronic components and build test models and CAD to ensure fit and finish of components.

Future proof

This unit has been designed with future expansion and possible changes taken into account. For example the ‘inner core’ can be replaced if there are changes to the connectors or we wish to produce another ‘core’ for another smart device manufacturer in the future.

There is also the possibility of future versions having more sensors and connectivity options, which would require the electronics module to be swapped out. We have designed the assembly so that the user can do this themselves following instructions from us.

Ceiling mounted smoke alarms are still recognized as the preferred response alarm. As such the Sense+ is intended as an additional safety system for fixed in home ceiling mounted smoke alarms.

Sense+ adds safety for you and your family as a automated and networked, cold smoke and carbon monoxide detector system. It saves you precious time you need to get you and your family to safety and alarm emergency services.

It is a portable charging dock that can be easily used to provide added protection when you are on the road and sleeping away from home.


Not all smoke detectors are created equal - Video on NBCNews.com 

Find This Campaign On
raised in 1 month
1% funded
No time left
$150,000 USD goal
Fixed Funding This campaign did not meet its $150,000USD funding goal by the deadline.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 14, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD

    You receive our gratitude and a shout out on our website. Thank you!

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $20USD

    You get the choice of a black or white T-Shirt for a woman or man with our Sense+ logo in blue. (see design bottom of the page) Add $10 to ship outside the US

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $59USD

    Charging and Sync Only, no sensors build-in) For those that love the look of Sense+ and want it just as a portable dock. You will receive 1 Dock for iPhone 5 and 1 charging cable that connects to your own USB wall power adapter, computer or monitor. Add $20 to ship outside the US

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $79USD

    This is our way of saying "Thank You!" for helping our campaign get rolling. You will receive 1 Dock+ for iPhone 5, 1 charging cable, and 1 USB wall power adapter. Add $20 to ship outside the US

    8 out of 250 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $89USD

    Receive 1 Dock for iPhone 5, 1 charging cable, and 1 USB wall power adapter. This funding level is the same as the $79 pledge level above, but you'll also receive 1 USB wall power adapter so you don't need to use the one that came with your iPhone. Add $20 to ship outside the US

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $99USD

    'Gun Metal'. Match your Black iPhone5 with the stealthy black body version of the dock+ that is as beautifully finished as your phone. Just like the "everything you need" pledge, 1 charging cable, and 1 USB wall power adapter are included. Add $20 to ship outside the US

    4 out of 300 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $99USD

    'Glacial White'. Match your White iPhone5 with a fresh and refined dock+ that is as beautifully finished as your phone. Just like the "Everything you need" pledge, 1 charging cable, and 1 USB wall power adapter are included. Add $20 to ship outside the US

    1 out of 300 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $360USD

    You will receive 4 Dock+ for iPhone 5, 4 charging cable, and 4 USB wall power adapter. Great gift for your family or to split with friends. Add $50 to ship outside the US

    0 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
  • $1,400USD

    You will receive 20 Dock+ for iPhone 5, 20 charging cable, and 20 USB wall power adapter. Shipping is additional, but will be billed at cost

    0 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2013
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