Policy / Systems / Technology

January 5, 2012


Wasabi Odor Fire Alarm Wins Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry

Keywords: Environmental Technology Manufacturing industry 

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The 2011 prize for chemistry went to the *wasabi odor fire alarm. The prize was shared by seven Japanese people, including Mr. Yukinobu Tajima, who is the inventor of the alarm and director of the Fragrance Marketing Association, and the medical doctors and engineers who developed the device. The award ceremony was held on September 29, 2011, at Harvard University.

Wasabi is a pungent type of horseradish. Foods such as sushi are dipped in wasabi and soy sauce before being eaten.

The prize honors the achievement of determining the ideal density of airborne wasabi to wake and warn sleeping people of danger with its pungent odor in the event of a fire or emergency, and converting something unlikely into a commercial reality.

The odor-emitting device has been designed to alert people with hearing impairments by using their sense of smell as an alternative. In human trials performed in collaboration with Shiga University of Medical Science, the research team confirmed that the concentration of the odorant in air is enough to awaken sleeping persons, but is lower than the no-observed-effect level.

The device has been jointly developed by two companies; Air Water Safety Service Inc., which specializes in producing breathing devices, clinical instruments and fire-extinguishers, and SEEMS Inc., which is engaged in research and development of biomimetic (technologies modeling on biological systems) fragrances .

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Posted: 2012/01/05 06:00:15 AM



Ig Novel Prize official website
Seems Inc. official website

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