A bicycle helmet remains an excellent proactive form of protection. The good ol’ brain bucket is there in case a wearer has an unfortunate spin on the road. The problem is that often times a helmet isn’t enough, especially for those riding alone and who are far from populated areas.
In those situations the helmet could help protect the wearer’s head, but can’t do much to help after the crash. But ICEdot has a solution where a sensor on the helmet, paired with a smartphone, can provide an actual level of protection. In the event of an accident the sensor determines the crucial forces, and if there is no response from the rider, activates communications on the wearer’s smartphone to send a request for help.
While the sensor could be used with a variety of sports, it certainly has a use with cycling helmets. The sensor is small enough to fit into the helmet and works with an app on the smartphone, which can detect motion, changes in forces and notably impacts. In the case of a traumatic crash it can call for help and even send GPS coordinates.
ICEdot does require a smartphone, but the timing of the release comes just as technology research firm DisplaySearch predicts that smartphone shipments worldwide will pass one billion in 2016. As many riders are already using their handsets as cycling computers, the ability to take advantage of the technology seems serendipitous.
“Absolutely,” said ICEdot CEO Chris Zenthoefer. “With all the processing power on devices as small as our phones have become, I think we’re at the very beginning of seeing what’s possible with this technology. As far as adoption, as with all things tech related, we know there are the early adopters and we expect they’ll be all over this. We then hope the masses will follow, it’s certainly something all cyclists need, especially if you ride solo.”
Of course there is the issue of whether some riders will want to embrace having to wear yet another electric signal sending device on their person. But Zenthoefer told BikeRadar that he doesn’t see the problem.
“Our first device will be Low Energy Bluetooth,” he stressed. “I imagine there will always be people concerned about these issues and I suspect they won’t wear one but we're betting they are the exception. Based on the comments coming through our website right now, I think we're right.”
This sort of thing could even encourage riders to wear a helmet in the first place, thus providing both proactive and reactive protection.
“I certainly hope so but I’m not counting on it,” added Zenthoefer. “The people I know who don’t wear helmets like the wind in their hair; think they’re more pure, or have fancy hair styles they don't want to mess up on their commute. They aren’t looking to be safer or more prepared; otherwise they'd be wearing a helmet already.”