UPDATE: Since the response to our original article about the new iceDOT crash sensor was so strong and since some concerns were raised, we checked in with Chris from iceDOT and he gave us some additional info about this innovative new product. The original article starts below the questions and answers.
Q: Your system requires cell phone service, yes? Some of our readers are asking about this need for cell phone service in order for the text alerts to work. Many off-road riders frequent areas that are too remote for reliable cell service. Do you guys have any plans to partner with a company like Spot or to use similar satellite messenger technology in future versions?
A: Yes, we depend on the cell network and while that is not without its holes, we’ve found that coverage is pretty great except in highly remote areas. Even then, some popular places (Vail, Aspen, etc) have strong cell coverage. We’re looking at alternatives but have nothing official. Current GPS systems that allow our service to communicate are pretty bulky.
Q: The $149 price includes service for the first year and after that it is $10 per year. What exactly is the service for? If you have the app installed, isn’t the system self sustaining at that point?
A: Your phone can’t auto send sms messages, so the app actually notifies our servers to send sms messages – we pay for those messages along with the sms messages that go out as you set-up your account, test it, etc. We have highly secured and regularly audited servers making sure the system performs and is secure. We provide emergency ID profile stickers with the sensor so we’re storing your basic health info and triggering sms messages when you need it most. These things cost money to keep running and $10, in our opinion, is a pretty humble fee to a company you’re counting on in a worse case scenario.
Q: How does the user move the sensor from helmet to helmet?
A: The sensor comes with a mount that adheres or zip ties to the helmet. We also sell extra mounts, 2 for $10, these can be put on other helmets so you can easily transfer the sensor. There’s some close up images of the mount on our site under the product page: https://icedot.org/en/products/41-Crash-Sensor
(note: close-up photos of the mounting system have been added to the gallery below)
Q: Does the sensor have to be mounted to the back of the helmet? Can it be mounted on the top or the front (like say to the chin guard on a full face?)
A: Yes, back of the helmet.
Original Article begins here>>
One of the most intriguing products I found at Interbike is a crash detection and alert system from a company called ice. (pronounced “ice-dot”). ice. was on display at the POC booth at the Outdoor Demo, but the device will fit any brand of helmet.
The ice. sensor detects the forces your brain is experiencing through its sensors to determine if the force of the impact you are experiencing is consistent with a concussion or major head trauma. So, if you fall and hit your head hard enough, it will sound an alarm and if you don’t disable that alarm it will assume you are unconscious or injured. It will then pull your GPS coordinates and send it out as a text message to your emergency contacts (up to 10 people). It pairs over smart blue-tooth with your phone and then there is an app for your phone to support the hardware. Currently the Crash Sensor app is available for iPhone 4S and 5 and an Android version will be released soon (for Android 4.3).
The MSRP for the ice. sensor is $149 which includes service for the first year and after that the service is $10 a year. Since it is not built-in to the helmet, you can move it from one helmet to another including from your road bike helmet to your mountain bike helmet or even to a ski or snowboard helmet or a motorcycle helmet.
The ice. sensor is programmed to detect the most dangerous kinds of crashes which include rotation forces or severe changes in velocity. Many helmets on the market today are made for impact crashes in one spot, but not necessarily for rotational forces (the new batch of MIPs helmets, notwithstanding). The sensitivity of the ice. sensor is not adjustable by the user, it comes set by the manufacturer.
One limitation of this device is that it DOES require cell phone service in order to send out the text alerts. If you ride in remote areas (as many do), this might not be a viable option for you. Perhaps ice. will partner with a company like Spot to use satellite messenger technology for future versions.
For more information, check out their website: https://icedot.org/site/crash-sensor/