Wasabi Smoke Alarm Wins Chemistry Nobel Prize

How would you like to be warned if your apartment was in danger of going in up flames? How about a smoke alarm that emits the scent of Japanese horseradish?

This “wasabi smoke alarm” was developed by a group of Japanese scientists. Believe it or not, it was actually designed with a purpose. The philosophy behind this unique alarm is that certain people might not be able to hear an audible smoke alarm if their home was on fire. Instead, the smell of wasabi presents a shocking, pungent odor to warn them of a possible fire.

Here’s why they were awarded the lg Nobel Prize:

For determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi (pungent horseradish) to awaken sleeping people in case of a fire or other emergency, and for applying this knowledge to invent the wasabi alarm.” — From the lg Nobel Winners Page

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