Domestic fires make up 14% of all fires in UK, but account for 75% of all fire-related deaths. Yet, fire alarm systems are rarely enforced or maintained for homes. Based on our field research working with the London Fire Brigade and fire industry experts, we have designed, developed, prototyped and tested Echo, a revolutionary fire alarm system.
The principle of Echo lies prevention, not of fire per se, but of its potential hazards. In the critical seconds immediately after starting, Echo is activated to detect, alert and communicate fire or smoke hazards. Combining smoke and flame recognition technologies, the detector can now be wall-mounted without compromising its effectiveness in identifying a potential hazard. This plug-and-play system taps onto existing electrical networks, making installation fuss-free, suppressing the need for battery change and using the main cables to communicate the alarm signal instantly to any detector in the house.
In its design language, Echo is a sardonic attempt to masquerade the overt association of the fire-alarm with the notion of danger, in the very place where we should feel the safest. And so, behind the façade of familiarity, art and indulgence, the objectionable fire-alarm has been transformed into an innocuous insurance of safety, and a symbol of assurance.
Multiple accolades for Echo, such as Ideal Home Inventor of the Year Award 2010, Deutsche Bank Award 2010, Selected Works 2010 as well as being featured by Thomson-Reuters, provided us the confidence to continue developing the product. Echo is the fruit of a team work with Lawrence Lee, Terence Woon and Efrain Martinez.