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Helmet Sensor Detects Bicycle Crashes, Sends Text For Help

Posted by: on June, 1 2015

Found on Dispatch.com and written by Diana Holbrook

Some cyclists are on the road, perhaps late at night, by themselves. So what happens in an incapacitating accident when you can’t call a spouse or family member?bike helmet detector

Now, there is ICEdot — a sensor that attaches to your helmet and contacts your loved ones for you.

The ICEdot (short for “ in case of emergency”) not only acts as a geolocater but also recognizes impact and sets off an alarm on the user’s smartphone, which then sends a text message to pre-programmed contacts.

Westerville BikeSource manager Kurtis Fraley bought one and says that, though other tracking devices and identification bands are available, this might be the only device that sends text messages to contacts after impact.

“If people don’t have a group to ride with, they’re mostly by themselves. With this, they can take heart they’ll have that added bonus of peace of mind,” Fraley said.

That is why Gena Briggs, 33, of New Albany, bought an ICEdot in December for her husband, Matt. With five children ages 7 or younger, the Briggses have to be creative in carving out time to ride. Gena rides with a group on weekends. Matt mostly rides by himself at night.

“He tells me vaguely where he’s going and gives me a ballpark when he’ll be back,” Mrs. Briggs said. “But it’ll be 10 o’clock, and I may be getting a little worried. At what point do I get the kids up and go looking for him?”

The couple ended up sharing the device. Mrs. Briggs is training for her first Ironman event, in September, and her rides can last up to six hours. Mr. Briggs, 35, enjoys being able to track his wife on their home computer as she’s on a ride.

“From that standpoint, I’ve found that more useful than me wearing it,” he said.

Before a ride, cyclists open the ICEdot app on their smartphones and gently shake their helmets to activate the sensor and sync it with the app.

If the sensor detects impact, it sends an alert to the app, and a 60-second (or more) countdown starts, accompanied by a loud alarm. If the user is OK, he or she has that minute to turn off the alarm, and nothing else will happen. If the user doesn’t or can’t deactivate it, a text message and the user’s location automatically are sent to pre-programmed contacts.

John Martin, of Alexandria in Licking County, has used an ICEdot for more than a year and says it is a must-have for anyone riding alone.

“You won’t be lying in a ditch waiting for someone to find you. It works exactly as described,” he said.

Not all reviews have been positive. Some people have had problems syncing the app to their phones, while others have had trouble getting the sensor to trigger an alarm.

Other than draining their phone batteries, the Briggses say the sensor has mostly worked fine for them.

There was one incident.

Mrs. Briggs had the ICEdot in her pocket instead of on her helmet. That would have been fine, except that it was accompanied by some quarters, which triggered the alarm and sent a text to her husband. She didn’t hear the alarm at first, because she hadn’t turned up the volume on her phone.

“I was like, ‘OK, what’s going on here?’  ” Mr. Briggs said. “I was getting ready to start making contacts. Finally, she called me back.”

The sensor retails for $120, is charged via USB cable and is available at many area bike shops, including Roll, Trek and BikeSource.