To be exact, the black USB charging unit that was shipped with the device has been recalled. Customers should not use the charger, as there is a risk of fire.
The company has sent emails to all customers, and says on its site that if a customer does not respond to an email, the company will call the contact number on the WakeMate order. They emails say:
Hello WakeMate Customer,In a thread on Hacker News, the company elaborated on the problem:
We have just been alerted to a safety issue with our product. The black USB charger bricks that have been included with the product are defective. Do not use them.
The USB chargers were sourced through a Chinese vendor. We paid to have the proper certification and safety tests performed here in the U.S. for the chargers. However, tonight we were informed by a customer of a safety incident with the black USB chargers. Therefore, effective immediately we are recalling ALL USB charger bricks and informing our customers that it is not safe to use these USB chargers to charge your WakeMate.
We will continue to look into the situation but needed to email you immediately to ensure that you stop using and unplug the included Black USB Power Bricks.
We are extremely sorry that we sent a product containing defective components. However, we also want to stress that this issue is with the chargers only, and not with the WakeMate itself. It is still safe to use the included USB cable to charge the WakeMate, and it is safe to wear the WakeMate while sleeping.
I sincerely apologize for this mishap on our part. We are doing everything we can to prevent any further incidents with the USB charger bricks.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.
CEO, Perfect Third Inc.
yes the batteries are safe. we believe that the chargers are spitting out a noisy electrical signal, which is causing the battery charger IC on the WakeMate to overheat, thus causing the problem. We have only seen any incidence when the unit is plugged into the black USB charger bricks we shipped with. To date we have logged over 20000 hours of sleep on our system, so we’re certain that sleeping with the Wakemate is safe, and that the batteries on the WakeMates are safe as well. This is in addition to the testing and certification we had done on the unit as well before we began shipping units.WakeMate is supposed to improve the sleeping experience of users, through the use of Actigraphy. The WakeMate is both an app and a device, as it comes with a wristband that measures your movements and determines your optimal wake-up time. The software runs on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry. That wristband, however, needs charging, and its the charger that is the problem.
Googler Jason Toff Tweeted about his experience, and included a video (below) that shows the damage done. While OK, he noted that if he had not been in the room with the WakeMate, his house would have caught on fire.
WakeMate has met its "Toyota unintended acceleration moment." Toyota was an established, huge corporation, as opposed to a start-up. Whether or not this incident becomes the company's downfall remains to be seen.