SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area tech firm is using artificial intelligence to help homeowners detect wildfires moments after they start. Developers of the new technology believe it could be a game-changer when it comes to saving lives and property.
Indoor smoke alarms have been around for decades, but imagine having a smoke or fire detector for the outdoors. A Bay Area tech startup says that's their vision.
"The concept of an indoor smoke alarm, taking it to the outdoors, except we're also incorporating other sensors into that," said Torch Sensors co-founder Vasya Tremsin.
The 23-year-old says the small, solar-powered device that's mounted outside uses sensors and artificial intelligence to help detect a fire moments after it starts in backyards, vineyards, or ranches.
"We have different variables," he said. "Each sensor has infrared cameras, gas sensors, humidity sensors, all data coming in real-time."
Through an app, the AI technology sends an alert to your phone if a fire is spotted.
"The whole goal is to alert you when the fire is actionable," said Michael Buckwald. "If we're doing our job right, you can extinguish the fire, or call 911."
Tremsin is a Bay Area native who helped develop the early concept for Torch Sensors in the wake of wildfires which devastated parts of the North Bay. The project was for a science fair at Campolindo High School in Moraga, where he was a student.
"In the past, there hasn't been any technology intended to detect a fire early," he said. "That's why every year, we keep having wildfires growing bigger and bigger."
We asked Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber his thoughts on the concept of a high-tech fire detector.
"If we had technology like this, it would help us in real-time," he said. "Change our response on the fire spread."
Developers say the device has performed well in testing, during controlled burns across Northern California.
Torch Sensors is scheduled to rollout to the public in the fall. The price, about $299.00.
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