SIGNAL Smoke Detector

Signal is a smoke detector by Matthew Jobson with a few simple, but interesting twists. When the batteries run out, the lid opens to display the brightly colored housing, this visually alerts people of the need to change batteries. By including glow in the dark arrows and outer body, the designer is trying to involve children in the process of fire safety education.

Designer: Matthew Jobson


  • Chris says:

    clever, eye-striking “change me”

    a feature that realy can save lives, a fire alarm that doesn’t alarm you when ther is fire is just useless.

    like it! keep it up!

  • lersince1991 says:

    safety regulations state that your smoke detectors have to be connected to the mains now-a-days, NO batteries, if you have an extension on your house or anything youll know that

    • TH says:

      This is not a universal regulation. I like the visual signal of low battery, and think that the good looks in general help focus some attention to these life-saving devices.

    • Matt Jobson says:

      There is only one State in Australia at the moment that has laws requiring that new homes, apartments, buildings or new renovations require that you fit a mains powered smoke detector. That State is Adelaide.

      Now, I have no idea about the rest of the world, but to be honest, it really doesn’t matter.

      How many existing, old homes and buildings are there in the world that these new laws WON’T apply to?

      Now I personally think it’s great to have this sort of legislation put in place for the future, but the MAJOR FLAW and an issue I feel very strongly about is..

      What can we do now?

      What about everyone else, who isn’t building a new home or conducting major renovations? What happens to them? Are they expected to suffer?

      We designers are always designing for the future, something so fantastic and life changing that in reality, only the smallest quantity of the population could ever afford it or have access to it. What’s the point in all these wonderful new designs if the average person doesn’t have access to it?

      I agree that mains powered smoke detectors that come supplied with battery back up (a necessity if there is a power outage.. and actually it’s a requirement to have battery back up)
      are a much better solution, but they are 10x the price and your supposed to get a qualified electrician to install them.

      Whilst the legalisation will take years before the entire world is fitted with mains powered smoke detectors, my concept is here now, it’s cheap, anyone can install it, and it might save a life or at the very least, help to warn consumers of the dangers of flat batteries in their existing battery powered smoke detectors.

      interestingly enough, when I bought a few smoke detectors to pull apart, of the 20 or so in the hardware store, only 1 was mains powered, and just as a funny aside, when I went to buy a couple of extra 9v batteries to run tests on my concept, there were warning labels on both the Duracell and Energiser 9v battery packs saying “don’t forget to change your smoke alarm batteries”. lol

      This is a problem for the here and now, and you might want to open your eyes to the sheer quantity of people who aren’t affected by this legalisation (and the places in the world where there currently is no legalisation.. eg.. the city i am living in right now)

      I’m sorry if this comes off as rude, that’s not my intention. I just feel very strongly about this, and as a designer I feel it’s my responsibility to create designs that are realistic in terms of technology, usability, understandability and also marketability.

      • bystander says:

        Love your passion, altitude and your sense of responsibility. We need more designers who are like yourself that has vision, drive and a thick skin because truth of the matter is, most design you come up with will get critiqued heavily.

        • Matt Jobson says:

          Bring it on! lol

          I was pretty famous at my Uni for shooting down my own work, and to me, this is important, because when everything is said and done, Design must win and people must benefit from it.

          They can’t benefit from it if they can’t afford it, or they don’t know about it, or if something else cheaper or cooler looking grabs their attention before they get a chance to look at your “better” product.

  • bystander says:

    before the battery actually runs out, doesn’t it make query noises as a warning sign? Mine does but you can’t just let it be because it is so annoying.

    • Matt Jobson says:

      Yes the annoying noises are still the primary warning system, the visual is secondary, for cases where your away from the device for a long time (holiday) or people who have hearing difficulties, and even for those of us who are lazy enough to ignore it (gives u a second chance lol)

  • Bing Crosby says:

    I love it brother, you really nailed the execution! by the way, who are those people in the photo? they look familiar…

  • Rony John says:

    This device can be very

  • Xandara says:

    I can’t tell you how many times my stupid smoke alarm has gone off at 3am with the low battery warning, and having one in every other room and having them beep once every 3 minutes makes it hard to figure out which one it is when you’re already groggy and just want that darn chirping noise to stop. This is such a genius idea… I want one. Now! Are these available for purchase anywhere yet?

  • Collin says:

    I think instead of having arrows constantly glowing at night, it would be cool instead if they were simply activated by the smoke detector to act as indicators only in time of need.

    Overall i think theres a lot of room for improvement for smoke detectors and this is a step in the right direction

  • bAGsiK!! says:

    hey can u please give me a schematic diagram of just a simple smoke detector,, its just for my school project please please,, heres my ad [email protected]

  • Rono says:

    It’s amazing.
    Safety and style all in one. 🙂

  • Sogol says:

    Dear Matthew Jobson,

    We are new started Swedish company that works for instance with web commerce and sale of designer fire products outwards to other firms and individuals, likewise restaurants and for home use.
    We have a great interest in your SIGNAL Smoke Detector, and wonder what it will cost to re-sell your product on the Swedish market?
    Our idea is to start buying one bye one of your smoke detector depending on the volume of orders we receive from our customers, this is because we currently don’t have any stock store to storing our products yet.
    And as we mostly work with web-based direct sales, this way is the most reasonable.
    We would be grateful if you could send Us a purchase price including vat for the product to Us, the dimension of the product and Product high-resolution Pictures?

    Best regards,


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