Two years ago, ICEdot presented the Crash Sensor, an emergency notification device designed to mount to sports helmets. After getting it to market last year, the company found that although its customers liked having the sensor-activated emergency notification, some of them also wanted to have a manual emergency notification. ICEdot has responded with the Emergency Trigger.
ICEdot responded to consumer feedback early this year, adding a one-button manual emergency/check-in feature to the app that accompanies the Crash Sensor. That proved a stopgap until it readied the Emergency Trigger, a physical device that secures to your helmet's chin strap or a wristband, keeping it within easy access.
With a quick push of a button, the Trigger fires off an SMS "check in" to the user's predesignated contact list, providing a link to his location to let them know he's OK and out and about. When the button is held down for two seconds, the Emergency Trigger goes into alarm mode and sends out a message to those contacts requesting help.
"In addition to our crash sensor, which automatically sends an emergency message when it detects an impact to a helmet, users wanted the ability to manually send a message," explains ICEdot CEO, Chris Zenthoefer. "Our customers also enjoy our tracking features, allowing their contacts to check in on them via SMS. With this product we've combined those two efforts into a small, lightweight and simple trigger that can be mounted just about anywhere. It also is our first product that allows a user to action before an accident."
Unlike satellite rescue beacons like the DeLorme inReach, the Emergency Trigger relies on cellular service from the user's paired phone, so it'll only work where there's coverage. That made us wonder: Why not just send off a "check in" text to your contacts yourself, then contact 911 (or a friend) directly in case of an emergency? The Crash Sensor is handy for situations where you may be unconscious or unable to access your phone after a crash, but if you can press a button, you can probably dial a phone.
We brought this question to ICEdot, and Zenthoefer responded that they see the device as useful for incidents where you need help but contacting 911 is impractical, citing specific examples like an avalanche in the backcountry, a runner facing an attacker in the park, and a wrecked mountain biker that can't reach his or her phone in a backpack. The device sends the help request and your location to your contact list, so they can proceed to get you help.
The device is also positioned as a way of proactively letting your friends and family know where you are out adventuring, which is an important preventative step that can help if you get into trouble later. Pressing a button on your wrist or chin is a more seamless way of "checking in" than pulling out your phone, especially if you're trying to maintain momentum on a bike ride, run, etc. The trigger should also serve as a reminder to do so.
ICEdot will launch the Emergency Trigger in March of next year and is aiming to keep the price around US$99. The device can be used on its own or in conjunction with the Crash Sensor.