ICEdot Crash Sensor
ICEdot Crash Sensor
Review of the ICEdot Crash Sensor
I was in a coma for a day. I was riding through London when a pedestrian swiped me with his briefcase. No one at work or at home knew where I was. It took my wife 12 hours to find me. My experience a couple of years ago is a perfect justification for the ICEdot Crash Sensor, a bluetooth-enabled beacon that sends a notification to a loved one or friend when a rider crashes. How does it work? Does it ensure rapid response and piece of mind? Read on to find out more.
Setting Up The ICEdot Crash Sensor
Before you rush out to buy one, it’s important to note that the ICEdot relies on an app installed on a supported phone. Fully supported phones include iPhone 4s or later, or an Android-based phone on 4.3 and later, except for Samsung which requires 4.4 and later. For our testing we used an HTC One with Android 4.4.2. We didn’t have any problems with setting up the ICEdot using this configuration, but any unsupported Android phone will be a “try at your own risk”, as the operating system is frequently customized by each manufacturer.
The little ICEdot box includes the ICEdot disc, a helmet mount for the disc, a micro-USB charger, and three stickers to add to various helmets. The ICEdot sensor and stickers share the same common unique identifier. This identifier is used to map the sensor to an ICEdot account containing your medical information and emergency contacts.
We found the ICEdot app in the Play Store with a quick search and installed it on our home screen. Next we activated our account and associated our ICEdot sensor and warning stickers. Each ICEdot’s unique ID is associated with your ICEdot account. This account includes as much relevant health information and messaging as you care to share with first responders and the person or people that should receive an emergency message when you crash. It took us about 15 minutes to set up the account and associate our sensor. The account is free for the first year with an annual subscription of £5 a year thereafter.
Once the account is setup, it takes only a few minutes more to setup the interface between the sensor and your phone. The ICEdot sensor, equipped with a gyrometer and accelerometer to detect both force and twist, uses the phone as a broadcast device after the ICEdot detects an impact. From the phone the user can set how quickly the system should send a notification (ranging from 15-120 seconds) and how loud the warning bell for others who may not have seen your crash, should be.
The sensor communicates via bluetooth to the phone, which then texts, emails, or calls your emergency contact providing both a notification of time of incident and location. First responders on a crash scene can text the unique ID on the prominently-placed sticker to an ICEdot number. ICEdot will respond with initial information the user would like to share about themselves in case they have been incapacitated. A really simple, effective system!
On The Road With ICEdot
Before setting off on the ride, there’s a quick pairing process between phone and ICEdot, sometimes requiring a small shake of the sensor. Once the pairing is complete and the tracking has been turned on, the system can be turned on with a quick screen click. From there, the system is in standby until a collision occurs. If you do crash, ICEdot activates GPS and counts down until notifications are sent to emergency contacts. GPS can be turned on for constant monitoring as well, which could be a peace of mind for parents or concerned partners of cyclists.
There’s really no reason to ever take ICEdot off your helmet except to charge it. The disc weighs less than a couple of ounces and is completely unobtrusive when mounted to the back of a helmet. We also mounted an ICEdot sticker on the top of our helmet which is a perfect safeguard for the worst case scenario when racing. We found the ICEdot worked perfectly in most situations notifying our emergency contact when we tested an old helmet dropped from a few feet with ICEdot attached.
Although the system is fantastic, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, if your cell phone is out of tower range the ICEdot cannot communicate. If you ride in remote areas with low cell phone coverage, the ICEdot may be limited. It’s also important to remember that the ICEdot can drain your phone more quickly than if you aren’t using the system. If GPS tracking is turned on for continuous tracking the drain is similar to Strava, which drops battery life pretty quickly. Finally, we found the system with our HTC One would drop connection on occassion. We’re not sure if the phone or the ICEdot is to blame, but no connection means no emergency contact text.
It’s hard not to recommend the ICEdot to anyone with £139 to spare. The system is light, compact, and effective. I won’t ride without it now, knowing that I’ve already had one incident that would have had a much less concerning outcome for my loved ones if I’d worn the device. For those who don’t have £139 burning a hole in the pocket, ICEdot also offers wrist bands and stickers which allow emergency services to quickly access your health information in case of an accident as we discussed in the Preview. The ICEdot system is a recommended offering for commuters, racers, and mountain bikers alike.
ICEdot Crash Sensor RRP £139