Did your phone just save your life? Yes. Yes it did.
I stumbled on this the other day mainly because of a Twitter interaction. It’s a new product called ActivBeacon for your phone (currently only iPhone4 or above). The idea is simple. It uses the onboard accelerometers on your phone combined with GPS to determine if you have a fall, crash, or stop moving. When that happens, it sends out a emergency text and voice messages with your GPS coordinates to your designated friends and family that something has happened, so they can contact emergency services.
Oh, and it’s entirely free and available in the App Store. Well that’s not entirely accurate. If you don’t want any adds in your ActivBeacon app, you’ll need to shell out a whopping $5/year.
This space is more commonly filled by emergency transponders like the SPOT or the much cooler Delorme inReach. Don’t go forgoing these options yet. The main limitation of ActivBeacon is that it requires a data signal to work. If you are heading someplace where that isn’t going to happen, then you should be applauded AND think about a SPOT or inReach just incase the worst were to happen.
That said, why not use a free emergency beacon when close to civilization? I can’t think of a reason. Check out the ActivBeacon video:
I’m going to test it out and report my findings. If you see a cyclist tossing a bubble wrapped iPhone off his bike, please don’t call the authorities.