Auckland man's invention fights fires

Graham Munro

A quarter of house fires start in the kitchen— as Graham Munro well knows. 

A few years ago, the Devonport entrepreneur was chatting to a neighbour when his breakfast fryup got out of control.

The fire sparked an idea that lead to SensorJet, a low-cost, fire-suppressing invention that Mr Munro's eponymous company has now patented in major markets, including the US and the EU.

The SensorJet system involves two components: an infrared sensor in the ceiling, and a bench-mounted water jet that rises up then sprays a fine mist of water when the ceiling sensor detects a fire.

Pouring water on a fryup fire is a no-no. It oxygenates the oil, creating huge flames a vicious splatters.

But SensorJet's cool mist displaces oxygen, smothering out the fire.

The company has developed a working prototype (see video below).

What's the next step?

"Rather than manufacture, we're looking for a large market incumbent like Tyco, Bosch or Honeywell to partner with," Mr Munro tells NBR.

"We're just preparing to approach major market participants now. We have advisors on board who have successfully completed similar deals in big industries."

The technology is simple, with low manufacturing risk, he says. With volume manufacturing, he sees SensorJet retailing in the $250 to $400 range.

There's a huge campaign to promote fire alarms, which of course play such a key role in saving lives. But it's good to see some innovation on the on the fire-fighting side, too. It'll be interesting to see who backs it.

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