Japanese scientists have figured out a new, gastronomically cutting-edge way to wake up deaf people and alert them to a possible fire. The Telegraph writes:

“Japanese horseradish, whose smell is more usually found in sushi restaurants, contains allyl isothiocyanate—the same chemical compound that gives mustard its bite—and tests at the Shiga University of Medical Science have shown that virtually all the hearing-impaired people exposed to the odour of wasabi woke up within two-and-a-half minutes.”

An aging and increasingly frail Japanese population has encouraged the development of new methods of alerting the populace to fire. Not to mention the fact that some Tokyo bars get so noisy that a conventional fire alarm would be just a bit of background noise compared to the din of conversation and music.

For those curious about the American solution to the same problem: here it is, in all its vibration-based glory.

Image source: Flickr member basykes under Creative Commons

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