One of the most intriguing products I found at Interbike is a crash detection and alert system from a company called ice. (pronounced “ice-dot”). ice. was on display at the POC booth at the Outdoor Demo, but the device will fit any brand of helmet.
The ice. sensor detects the forces your brain is experiencing through its sensors to determine if the force of the impact you are experiencing is consistent with a concussion or major head trauma. So, if you fall and hit your head hard enough, it will sound an alarm and if you don’t disable that alarm it will assume you are unconscious or injured. It will then pull your GPS coordinates and send it out as a text message to your emergency contacts (up to 10 people). It pairs over smart blue-tooth with your phone and then there is an app for your phone to support the hardware. Currently the Crash Sensor app is available for iPhone 4S and 5 and an Android version will be released soon (for Android 4.3).
The MSRP for the ice. sensor is $149 which includes service for the first year and after that the service is $10 a year. Since it is not built-in to the helmet, you can move it from one helmet to another including from your road bike helmet to your mountain bike helmet or even to a ski or snowboard helmet or a motorcycle helmet.
The ice. sensor is programmed to detect the most dangerous kinds of crashes which include rotation forces or severe changes in velocity. Many helmets on the market today are made for impact crashes in one spot, but not necessarily for rotational forces (the new batch of MIPs helmets, notwithstanding). The sensitivity of the ice. sensor is not adjustable by the user, it comes set by the manufacturer.
One limitation of this device is that it DOES require cell phone service in order to send out the text alerts. If you ride in remote areas (as many do), this might not be a viable option for you. Perhaps ice. will partner with a company like Spot to use satellite messenger technology.
For more information, check out their website: https://icedot.org/site/crash-sensor/