The Nest Protect is a great example of how smart home hardware can improve safety.
With Torch, a company founded in 2020, that same technology is being applied to a new setting – outdoor fire detection.
The Torch device, which uses sensors to detect heat, light, and smoke, can be used to provide early warning for fires up to 10 acres away.
The increased risk of wildfires due to climate change makes this product all the more important. Torch’s founders have a history with the technology that dates back to a high school science project, and the device is expected to ship in 2021.
The Impact of Climate Change
Climate change is a major factor in increasing wildfire risk, as it leads to droughts and higher temperatures that create the perfect conditions for fires.
According to a study conducted by NASA EarthData, the average wildland fire size in the 1950s was 1,200 acres, but by the 2010s that number had more than doubled to over 3,400 acres.
The History of Torch
The idea for Torch was conceived by co-founder and COO Vasily Tremsin when he was still in high school in 2017.
The Napa Valley fires of his senior year were a major factor in inspiring him to create a device that could detect and alert for fires in outdoor settings. Michael Buckwald, co-founder and CEO, was drawn to the project by both its potential as a business and its potential to save lives.
The Torch Device and Its Features
The Torch device is mounted onto a spike screwed into a tree, and it has a range of up to 10 acres. Its on-board sensors are on the lookout for heat, light, and smoke, and when the data hits a certain threshold, the owner will be sent a wireless alert. Currently the thermal camera is only used for detection, but a future version may include a live feed. The device is solar powered and it communicates with a mesh network that allows for many devices to be connected to one Wi-Fi gateway. Torch has been validating the technology with controlled burns, and preorder for the product begins today with an expected ship date of early 2021.