Waving arms trigger Nest Protect false alarms
Occurred: April 2014
Nest halted sales of its new Nest Protect Smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms a month after their launch due to an issue with Nest Wave, an algorithm that allows users to 'wave to hush' the product. No customer incidents had been reported.
Wave was supposed to enable users to to silence a warning by waving their hand in front of the detector. But further lab tests by Nest revealed that it could be unintentionally activated during a real fire, resulting in a delayed response to real danger.
Google acquired Nest a few months earlier in January 2014.
Sector: Consumer goods
Purpose: Disable alarm
Technology: Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Published: August 2023