Preview of ICEdot, technology that may just save your life
No cyclist likes to suffer a crash but the chances are that you have had, or will have, a spill or two during your escapades. For the most part cycling is a fairly safe sport but accidents do happen, so being prepared for that eventuality makes sense, though few of us ever are. ICEdot aims to change that.
The worst scenario would be to have an accident and to be injured without having any form of ID, so that your rescuers are unable to identify you or notify your relatives. You may say, as I did initially, “Well I have an ICE number on my phone”, ICE standing for in case of emergency, but then suppose you crash and are injured, all alone, in the middle of nowhere and are rendered unable to summon help. It’s both of these issues that ICEdot aims to solve.
ICEdot is described as an ’emergency ID and notification service’. It’s designed for athletes, like cyclists, who train alone in potentially dangerous situations (roads and trails) and other outdoor enthusiasts.
You get a unique PIN code that links to your online profile, which in turn can provide important medical information and notify your contacts in an emergency via text message. To get things up and running, you need to create an ICEdot profile – who you are, medications or allergies, and emergency contacts – by activating that PIN code, which can be found on any of the ICEdot ID products and, as each product comes with a unique PIN, you can have multiple PINs synched to the same ICEdot Profile.
Every ICEdot member receives a sticker pack to place your PIN on your ID, helmets, phones or other items you carry whilst cycling. All emergency services are trained to look for ICE information, usually in mobile phones but with ICEdot, ‘first responders’ can more quickly locate that 8-digit PIN code on a wrist band or one of the included stickers, and text it to ICEdot. Your emergency profile would then be made available as an ‘immediate response message’, including medication, allergies and details of emergency contacts.
So some parts of the ICEdot system are very simple – an ID bracelet and some stickers to attach to your kit – but alongside this ICEdot brings some clever technology into play with the ICEdot Crash Sensor.
The crash sensor will mount onto any helmet and connects with your ICEdot Profile via bluetooth and a smartphone app. The system is able to detect motion, changes in forces and impacts and in the event of critical forces, the device triggers the app over low-energy Bluetooth to sound an alarm and initiate an emergency countdown. Unless the countdown clock is stopped, the app will then automatically notify your emergency contacts and send GPS coordinates of your location.
The Crash Sensor app is available for iPhone 4S and later, Android Nexus 4 and 5 phones and those running Android 4.3 or later. Unfortunately the way Samsung configure their phones means that the technology cannot work with that brand at present, ruling me out of testing this unit. So I will pass the crash sensor onto someone else on the team.
The ICEdot Crash Sensor was invented by Denver based, SenseTech, who partnered with ICEdot, which at the time was an emergency profile and sms-based emergency contact system to couple the two technologies – an ideal partnership. The sensor is designed and tuned to mimic the forces your brain is experiencing at any given time by SenseTech’s Chief Scientific Officer, Timothy Bauer, PhD who developed the complex algorithms that translate raw sensor data from the on board gyroscope and 3 axis accelerometer. These determine if and when forces exceed the safety threshold for the brain, including G Forces and rotational forces from acceleration and velocity. The Crash Sensor is manufactured in the US by electronics company, FlexTronics, which selected ICEdot as part of their new initiative to work with smaller companies innovating in the wearable technologies space.
Though not in the cycling arena, there is a helmet company already building the crash sensor into their helmets during manufacture and this seems like a really positive step. Until then, ICEdot seems to be a sensible purchase, especially if you spend many hours training alone out on the road. It’s one of those things you buy, fit and forget; you hope you’ll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be very glad that you had it.
Check back for a full review soon.