The spouse of every athlete knows the feeling – your partner told you they would be back from their 100km by 10 and it’s now 10:30. At first they think you just bonked and are riding slow. Then they start to worry about an equipment malfunction. And finally they will start to fear the worst—you crashed. Some of you may now carry connected products such as the Garmin 510/810, or even just an iPhone with “Find my Friends.” However, at best these things will only tell your loved ones where you are and whether you are moving. What has been needed is a product that will not only be able to tell someone that you crashed, but will reach out and let them know the moment it happened. Thankfully that product is finally here – the ICEdot Crash Sensor.
Before we jump into the crash sensor we need to first cover ICEdot. ICEdot (In Case of Emergency) is an emergency ID and notification service. While similar to RoadID’s Interactive option, ICEdot has several differences, including the use of sms/text and geolocation services to provide its users an additional level of safety and security.
Like RoadID Interactive, users create an online profile with detailed information including your name, date of birth, emergency contact info, medical info, allergies, and health insurance. One of the difference of ICEdot is the ability to upload specific files to your account that you may want a first responder (or ER doctor) to access. You can also create a short paragraph of information within your profile that you want the first responder to immediately see (your name, spouse’s contact details, and allergies).
ICEdot offers a number of wearable options for its users. Each option includes the product, and a one year subscription to ICEdot. After the first year, renewal will set you back $10.
The most inexpensive option is the ICEdot sticker packs ($6). While they seem overly simple, these little stickers are in fact quite useful. The stickers can be used on your frame, helmet, and even your water bottles. You can even use these for non-triathlon purposes such as your car, wallet, and cell phone (though for most of us, there really is no such thing as “non-triathlon”).
For tagging your clothing, ICEdot offers its Snap Pack ($20) which lets you snap ICEdot sensors directly to your clothing. For those that like to train with the minimum amount of gear, this may be the best option for you.
ICEdot also offers a silicone bracelet (think LiveStrong) that you can wear on your body ($20). We here at AeroGeeks always prefer to have at least one method of ID on our body during every workout, and the ICEdot Band handles that need perfectly.
The ICEdot Crash Sensor
The crash sensor is ICEdot’s newest and, in our opinion, most exciting offering. When paired with an iPhone (Android coming soon), the ICEdot crash sensor offers a sense of assurance, that no other product can provide to an athlete’s loved ones to date.
The crash sensor pairs with your phone using low-energy Bluetooth and is charged via a USB port. When a crash is detected, the sensor triggers a user configurable countdown (with a very loud tone) that can be disabled in case of a false alarm. If the rider does not end the countdown, your phone sends a message to ICEDdot to have any emergency contacts in your ICE profile alerted to the location of your incident.
In the app, critical information is kept following an incident including the peak g-forces sustained during your crash. This can be critical information for your physician as you are being treated.
The sensor itself attaches to a mounting clip that you zip tie to your helmet. For testing purposes we chose to mount the sensor to our Giro Air Attack since we felt this would actually be one of the harder products for mounting due to its lack of ventilation (lack of easily accessible areas for zip tying). We were able to successfully mount the sensor to the retention dial at the rear of the helmet. However, we learned the hard way that you need to avoid allowing the zip tie to rub against your head. Otherwise you’ll be pretty uncomfortable less than 5 minutes into the ride.
Using the Crash Sensor
Before each ride you need to re-pair the sensor with your phone. This could take a minute or two when using the first version of the software. But with the newest version this takes just a few seconds. Once the sensor is paired you just tap the screen once to have it start monitoring, and off you go.
One of our biggest concerns was false alarms. We wanted to avoid one of our loved ones getting a call due to the sensor being overly sensitive. So far we are happy to say that there have been no false alarms after the first two weeks of riding. Also, the ICEdot app does allow you to configure the sensitivity of the sensor if you feel that your activity may be a bit more violent than your average Sunday ride.
The only issue we have had to date was when we noticed that the phone and sensor had unpaired and stopped monitoring. We had checked roughly an hour before and it had been paired successfully. So we don’t know if the signal dropped or if we even accidentally disabled it. We also have a very early production unit, so that could have contributed to it as well. Regardless, this is something we will watch out for as we continue the rest of our review period.
Our goal going forward is to ensure that no false positives are sent and that the sensor will still trigger at the end of an especially long ride (though we have no plans to intentionally fall off the bike of course). With that said, we’re planning to wear the sensor for every ride over the next few weeks.