If you're intrigued by Nest's Protect, but think spending $99 for a fancy smoke alarm is kind of crazy, Roost's WiFi connected 9-volt battery is worth keeping an eye on. It plugs into any old smoke alarm to make it "smart," as is the custom of our time. You'll get mobile alerts when the battery is low, or if your alarm goes off while you're away from home. Say goodbye to those annoying middle-of-the-night low battery chirps.
After a day on Kickstarter, the project has already received more than $30,000 from backers. It likely won't be too long until it reaches its goal of $50,000. You can snag a single Roost with a $35 pledge -- hopefully the final models will cost around the same. While it looks like any other 9-volt battery, under the hood is a microcontroller and low-power Wi-Fi chip. Thanks to lithium cells and intelligent power management, Roost should be able to get around 5 years of life, compared to around two years for standard 9-volt batteries.
Naturally, a companion app lets you view the status of multiple Roost-powered alarms and easily get in touch with emergency contacts. Roost says the battery will also work in carbon monoxide and water leak alarms. Additionally, it's taking suggestions for other devices it should support. I'll admit, Roost seems surprisingly compelling -- and that's coming from someone who honestly feels a bit jaded by the onslaught of crowdfunding campaigns these days. But I won't get too excited until the company proves it can actually offer the Roost at an acceptable price and with the reliability we've come to expect from existing batteries.