The ICEdot Crash Sensor is a tiny device that looks to make rides a little safer, by telling someone important you i) you’ve had a crash, and ii) where to come and find you to pick up the pieces!
ICEdot Crash Sensor Review – TitaniumGeek
So crashing my bike was a bit of an irritation. When I arrived at the hospital, finding my elbow wasn’t attached to me anymore was a much bigger irritation. However between crashing my bike and getting to the hospital, the actual process of being found and picked up whilst shivering from the side of the road (Cycling kit is largely made to keep you cool, not to keep you warm when sat by the side of the road in January!) was a bit of an ordeal in it’s own right!! If I’d been riding with an ICEdot that day, sorting out my location may have been a little easier!
So what is this yellow piece of plastic?
Simply put, ICEdot is a crash sensor, which communicates with an app on your phone via BlueTooth, to alert your our In-Case-of-Emergency contact of your last known GPS location, if the ICEdot detects you have had a crash
Although originally launched in 2012, the ICEdot system is still an exceptionally useful bit of kit, especially if you are prone to solo rides, as the alert process in the event of a crash is completely automated. So let’s look at the little yellow device!
The ICEdot Crash Sensor comes in a black and yellow tubular box, which stands out well compared to the myriad of black rectangles most sports kit is packed into.
Opening up the cylinder, you are presented with the ICEdot looking up at you, and underneath that, we have all the other bits and bobs
Inside the box; we’ve a couple of cable ties, a nice and short USB cable (I’m quite a fan of short cables for things I’ll likely be charging from my desk/laptop) instruction manual, the ICEdot + mount, and finally, your personal ICEdot registration pin and associated stickers
The ICEdot Crash Sensor itself is a yellow puck-shaped device, about 3cm in diameter. Charging is via a USB port on one side of the device, which is normally covered by one of the clips on the mount
Personally I think ICEdot missed a trick when it comes to charging the device. There is no visible way of confirming that the unit is actually connected/working. Yet there is a perfect location for an LED behind the grey rubber of the “dot” on the front of the unit, which would make life just that bit better
On the other sides two other grey rubber slots on the sides of the unit hold the ICEdot Crash Sensor very firmly into the mount
The mount itself is black plastic, and can be attached using the pre-applied 3M tape, or the supplied zip-ties.
The unit looks very nice held on the back of your helmet in a way that is visible, but not in an unsightly way
- Operating temperature: 0°F to 122°F (-18°C to 50°C)
- Waterproofing: up to 1 meter for 30 minutes via ‘HzO nanocoating’
- Communications: Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)
- Battery: Approx. 20 hours
- Standby time: Approx. 30 days
- Requires cell phone service to send SMS
- Service cost: US $10/AU $10/UK £5, (yearly)
Using the Device
The ICEdot Crash Sensor itself is very simple to fit. Charge, strap to the back of your hat, and place one of your pin code stickers in a visible position on your helmet
There are a few more steps to take in terms of setting up the crash notifications, requiring downloading of the ICEdot Crash Sensor app.
After putting in your regular demographic details, you fill in relevant medical information. Including allergies. Speaking as a medic, it is REALLY useful if you put what the allergy IS.
So rather than just writing “Penicillin”, put “Penicillin – Causes rash“. Similarly if you can put the dose and how often you are taking any medications, in the unfortunate event that you do need medical care, the doctors lives will be made so much easier!
Once your details are in, it’s time to put in your emergency contacts
On the above photo, note how it says “verified” and “pending”? When you enter the persons details, they receive a text message to state they have been registered, and for them to respond verifying they are happy to be your emergency contact. Eastland just doesn’t care about me *sob*
Finally you can customise what your emergency message says
Going for a ride
Before pushing the ICEdot Crash Sensor in the the holder on the helmet, a quick shake wakes it up, and allows you to pair through the app
You can then tweak any settings within the app
Particularly useful is how long the count down will last before your emergency message is sent, allowing you to cancel a simply tumble for example – dont worry you can also cancel the alarm after the fact as well!
You can also make your contact aware that a ride is starting with the push notifications. There is also the option to have the ICEdot broadcast your location continuously – like a protective version of Garmin and Wahoo’s respective live tracking features.
But there is not the option to broadcast to Twitter/Facebook, in case you want the entire world to know where you are (personally I think that’s probably a good thing!)
When you set off for the ride, the app remains active, causing a small amount of battery drain to the phone, but nothing more than using Strava, or Garmin’s Live Track – you can also see how much battery is left in the ICE on this screen. Also if you do have fall when not on the bike, thus not triggering the ICEdot, you can use to app to “declare an emergency” which will notify your contacts as usual should you need it
The ICEdot requires active mobile phone reception in order to alert your contact via SMS. In addition, the app will need permission on your phone to access location details in order to communicate your GPS position. The wording on the ICEdot site is slightly unclear, as to whether a GSM signal is enough, or if an internet connection is also needed to notify your contacts when the ICEdot Crash Sensor detects an incident….
So I switched mobile data off on my phone, and manually triggered an alert…
No dice. So it would appear that the ICEdot Crash Sensor is good, but you do still need to have a connection to the modern world in order to send for help
Testing a crash
I initially gave the helmet a really good shake to try and trigger and alert… however the 3M tape didn’t prove to hold too well onto the back of my lid, so both the ICEdot Crash Sensor and mount crashed off.
However the shocked drop onto grass was enough to trigger the system I was pleased to see! (interesting different to the See.Sense light crash sensor, which didn’t trigger in spite of being dropped down the stairs!)
As soon as enough force is registered to trigger the alarm, a siren sounds on your phone, with a count down, allowing you to prevent the message to your contacts
Amy who was currently in the middle of London during the test, and thus about 3 hrs away, recieved the following message:
When she selected the tracking link she was show the following tracking information. Essentially showing where I had walked out into a field to drop the ICEdot Crash Sensor on the floor!
On my side of things, you can look at the incident report, and see the forces recorded by the ICEdot Crash Sensor – which is a cool, if chilling feature
During testing it became clear that unfortunately the 3M tape on it’s own isn’t really strong enough to hold the ICE mount to your helmet well when removing the ICEdot Crash Sensor for charging. I found that attaching the unit with the zip-ties gave a much more secure connection.
It’s almost a shame that there isn’t a standard rubber flap over the USB port, to allow you to charge the ICEdot Crash Sensor in place, so you didn’t have to worry about removing it at all!
The ICEdot Crash Sensor costs a one off €98.00 directly from ICE, and comes with 1 years worth of premium service (i.e. notification services), after which you will revert to the free plan (just contact information for medical responders) – more details are here, so there is a recurrent charge here of US $10/AU $10/UK £5, a year.
I’m very impressed with the little dot, and the added peace of mind that if I come off the bike again, especially if I’m one my own, it might be easier to find me. However it’s also worth while considering who you contact is, as if first emergency contact doesn’t have a smart phone, although they still received an emergency message, they wont be able to do anything with the Google Maps link
I think the ICEdot makes a great use case for people who want to add onto an existing cycle set up, perhaps place on a child’s helmet, or just use for casual riding, in which case, I think it’s actually a very well placed, practically fire and forget (as long as you remember to keep you loved ones battery charged)
The question is, with Garmin’s new 820, including similar incident detect for free, how will ICEdot respond with regard to the yearly subscriptions?