Smoke alarms are truly horrible devices. Sure they keep life less crispy, but for most they are also an annoyance. A smoke detector in the kitchen can almost guarantee that you won’t be using cast-iron pans any time soon. That well seared burger or steak is nearly certain to activate your smoke alarm. From there comes the futile waving of a towel underneath the device to no effect. Then it’s time to grab a chair and repeat. Next, it’s time to remove the battery or simply break the thing with a broom handle. That was fun.

Nest Protect ipod smoke alarm

Nest introduces smoke detectors

The smoke alarm of your youth is likely the smoke alarm presently in your house. Innovation has given us many things but it has passed over the smoke alarm for decades. Until now that is. Tony Faddell, the founder of Nest, and the so-called “father of the iPod” has put his touches on the smoke detector and come up with something brilliant. But why?

“People are so frustrated by smoke detectors: They say, ‘I took a shower and it went off; I cook and it goes off; and [its dying] batteries wake me up in the middle of the night,'” Fadell says. “They cry wolf all the time—that’s incredibly annoying.”

Tony Fadell announces Nest Protect product

As a result of this frustration, Fadell today announced Nest Protect—a completely modernized smoke and carbon monoxide detector that comes with light sensors and color cues, voice and gesture-based interactions, smartphone syncing and an elegant design reminiscent of an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) product.

No longer will you find yourself waving a towel around like an idiot in order to silence a false alarm. Fadell and his team have installed ultrasonic sensors to detect your hand motions.  “We call it the wave hush, like, ‘I hear you, it’s all good, it’s hushed,'” Fadell explains.

Instead of just a blaring alarm, the Nest Protect is in constant contact with the user with various degrees of urgency. In the center of this beautiful device is a glowing ring. Red represents the presence of smoke or carbon monoxide. Green represents the “all-clear” and the fact that the device is adequately powered. Yellow means that Nest either has a message for you or there is a hint of CO or smoke. One of the coolest features is that when you turn off the lights the Nest will glow green but also work as a path light glowing brighter as you walk underneath it as you sneak into the kitchen for a snack.

Talking smoke alarm

Did I mention that it also talks to you rather that simply screaming like a petulant child. “There’s carbon monoxide in the den,” the system might announce. Or: “Smoke is clearing in the kitchen.” According to Fadell, the system checks that its own sensors—which include photoelectric smoke, CO, heat, light, and activity sensors—are working properly, and it will let you know if they’re not and why. “If there is an emergency, we don’t just want to beep at you,” Fadell says. “It’s about providing safety and information.”

It’s also Wi-Fi enabled and will sync with your smartphone or give you updates whether you’re in the house, at the office, or on vacation. Despite all these features, the Nest Protect will run for years on a full set of batteries.