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Safera cooks up a treat with smart kitchen sensor

Safera’s smart cooking sensor prevents bad air quality, soggy pasta and even kitchen fires.Adobe

No timer set, extractor hood off and no one is watching over the hot stove. These are common mishaps for many home cooks, but Finnish tech company Safera is coming to their rescue.

What is the number one cause of home fires? Cooking, and many of them could be easily prevented, says Espoo-based Safera. Its stove guards have done precisely that for the past 10 years. Now the company is applying its knowledge to the smart home market. Safera’s new smart cooking sensor, scheduled to launch in September, promises not only to make our kitchens safer but to help us become better cooks as well.

“There is no other product like this,” enthuses CEO Mikko Reinikainen.“It combines a stove guard, an air quality meter and a cooking application.”

The product, Safera Sense, is designed with the distracted chef in mind. At its core is a discreet sensor device which is easily attached above a stove top and can detect almost any event around the stove. Through an accompanying mobile app, Sense will alert you if the stove has been accidentally left on, automatically sets timers for specific foods and notifies you when it’s time to turn on ventilation or a pan has reached the perfect temperature for cooking.

Safera Sense is designed with the distracted chef in mind. Image: Safera

So how does it work? Sense is built on Safera’s proprietary sensor technology and data analytics. It collects data, among others, on air quality, temperature, humidity and human presence to create a visual timeline of all cooking activities. It even knows when a lid is put on a pan. And this is just the start. Safera is already planning new smart cooking features, such as detailed recipes, with future software updates.

If you can’t stand the heat…

Safera began as a product design company in 2006. But when an insurance company approached it to create a way to prevent cooking fires, Reinikainen was hooked.

“We benchmarked stove guards globally and noticed they were simple devices, based on detecting a single temperature. Also, they were quite hideous,” Reinikainen laughs. “We had the design, electronics and robotics expertise, so we knew we could make something better.”

Safera set out to do exactly that. Instead of focusing on putting out fires, the company wanted to prevent them. It built a stove guard which immediately cuts off stove power if it senses danger. The big breakthrough for Safera came in 2009, when the City of Stockholm ordered the stove guards for all its new-build apartments.

Today Safera’s products come in both integrated and stand-alone versions and can be found in over 200 000 homes. Now with Sense, the company is expanding past safety features.

We believe our smart cooking sensor will bring added value to all kinds of people, but initially our focus is on smart home early-adopters,” says Mikko Reinikainen. Image: Safera

“Our products do very well with insurers, builders and kitchen appliance manufacturers, but we started to think how could we get closer to consumers,” Reinikainen explains. “We have a lot of data on what happens around the stove. This is how we started to think about air quality and smart cooking.”

Smart home revolution

Safera is on a constant lookout for future partners. Eventually, the company would like to see its sensor technology used also outside the kitchen and become an integrated part of smart home products.

“Our technology has numerous potential applications globally, and some well-known consumer brands have already expressed their interest,” Reinikainen says. “In particular, air quality monitoring is a massive global trend.”

Such a move would again see Safera evolve – something the company has made a habit of throughout its history.

“I see that one pretty day we will be a software house,” Reinikainen envisions. “The electronics are manufactured by our partners, and we focus on software development. We have merely scratched the surface of what we can offer in future.”

By: Eeva Haaramo