For far too long, this essential lifesaving gadget has remained among the most unremarkable, even ugliest objects. Though Louise van der Veld is Dutch, she took inspiration from the American Black-capped Chickadee bird. These canaries became a part of life for miners deep in the coalmines in the early part of the last century, both as a singing distraction and life protector. The tiny songbirds could detect the odorless, colorless gasses such as carbon monoxide, so the slightest unrest among them signaled it was necessary for miners to evacuate. Based on this premise, Louise reimagined the home smoke director—and took first prize in her country’s design contest for it. Like the bird’s warning call, this alarm will sound off at the first threat. A control light flashes once a minute under normal conditions. But as soon as smoke is detected, an 85-decibel alarm is activated. Battery replacement and test button are easy to handle. The Chick-A-Dee comes with a three-year warranty and is fully UL approved.