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ICEdot Crash Sensor

I didn't exactly want to go and have myself a crash, but I had to test how the Crash Sensor worked. So what did I do? Well, first instinct was to throw it, and being in the office, I knew I wouldn't lose it anywhere, because there wasn't very far it could go. It held together nobly, too. And after that I decided that it was a satisfactory way to test what the sensor was made of.

At about 1 1/2 cm thick and 3 cm wide, it's small and light and sticks right on your helmet. To use it you have to register the Crash Sensor online and download a free app onto your smartphone. It asks for your location, your medical information and for a person's details in case an accident occurs. You get a couple of stickers with a unique code on that will give the details you provided if someone were to type it into the website or message the European or American emergency lines. It may not seem the most useful or cost-effective means from SA, but the service from the European number was very fast. ICEdot is looking at the viability of having a South African emergency number, but as yet, there is not one available.

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It doesn't immediately message someone should it sense a crash, though. Once an impact is detected by the little sensor housed in the yellow plastic casing, it sounds an alarm on your smartphone. You then have 45 seconds to 'disarm' the thing. Of course this was a great source of amusement. We kept on trying to find different ways to hit it and with different objects, seeing what it's limits were, just waiting for that siren sound. We did fasten the sensor to a helmet and tossed that about with good results. It doesn't take too hard of a hit to activate, but it also doesn't activate with a small drop either.

It really did sound daunting, three parts foghorn and one part ambulance siren. It gets your attention, as it's meant to, and will no doubt grab the attention of anyone else around. If you had this thing as an alarm, your first instinct would be to throw it too. If you don't disarm it, it sends a message to the person that you gave details for when you registered.

That's basically the point of it, though, to go out for a ride on your own with some peace of mind that if something were to happen then at least someone would know where you are and could help. It's perhaps worth mentioning that, with the sensor only being on your helmet, it only responds to the forces inflicted on the helmet. I guess it's considerably easier to call for help yourself should you get hurt anywhere else, and it's not really necessary for crash sensors to be put all over. It would be more of a nuisance than anything.

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Some flaws I've found are that you need enough cell phone reception so that you can send data in order for the device to fully work and need to charge the device before hand. Without reception, the device cannot use your phone to send out a message. It's not hard to find an area with no cell reception in South Africa, which kind of negates the idea that you can go out for a ride on some remote trail, knowing that if something happens, someone will know where you are. No, I think it mostly applies to people that commute or ride on the road or ride trails that are better known and want some reassurance that someone they know will be informed if something happened.

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The Sensor is not cheap, though. At R1 800 it offers a level of security that you wouldn't normally have, but whether it's worth that price is completely up to the user. You need to be able to justify that price. If you do a lot of riding on your own and have serious medical conditions, then it would be worth getting, because it could be a potential life-saver.

ICEdot Band

It's kind of two products that are on test here, the sensor and the band. The band is a rubber wrist band that has a unique code on it that works in much the same way as the sensor in that you register your code on ICEdot.org and fill in all the same details about yourself. The difference comes in when you actually crash and need help. If someone so happens to come across your unconscious body on a trail then they can message the emergency number and get your details as well as your medical information. It basically gives you the service of having all your medical details and personal information readily available to someone in case of an emergency without the service of having a message automatically sent to someone in the event of an accident.

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At R250 it's a whole lot cheaper than the sensor and gives you much of the same service, minus the actual sensing of an accident and messaging for you. They are still the US and European numbers, but they work quickly. It would be up to said person, though, to decided whether they think it'll work. Some people might see those numbers and think they won't and will just call the local emergency folks. Which will surely work too. It's a quick reference point, because when you message the number, it gives you options to find out information about the person, i.e. their allergies or medical conditions. A potential life-saver, yes, but also a slight gimmick.

Get it:

If you often go riding alone and want reassurance that someone will know where you are if you get yourself into trouble. Also, if you have sensitive medical conditions that require quick medical attention, it would be worth looking into.

Don't get it:

If you don't often ride on your own or don't want something judging how you crash your bike.