If a mountain biker falls in the woods, do they make a sound? It depends, but if that mountain biker was wearing a helmet with Specialized's new ANGi technology, a crash would automatically notify their emergency contacts via text, and send out their GPS coordinates.
ANGi stands for Angular and G-force indicator, and it's a tiny device that will be a standard feature on many of Specialized's 2019 helmets, and available as an upgrade on others. The small waterproof and dustproof unit contains a gyroscope and an accelerometer, which allows it to detect direct blows to the head, along with potentially dangerous rotational head movements that can occur without the helmet being hit.
If any of this sounds familiar, it's likely because early versions were created under the name ICEdot. Specialized acquired ICEdot in 2017, and brought aboard Chris Zenthoefer, the company's founder, to develop ANGi and the new Specialized Ride App.
One of the goals behind the new technology was to integrate it as seamlessly as possible. Chris Zenthoefer likened it to an airbag in a car – you typically don't think about it at all, but when it does its job you're thankful for its existence.
With ANGi, lifting up the helmet is all that's required to activate it. The next step is to open the Specialized Ride App, make sure the phone and helmet are paired via Bluetooth, and then tap a button on the screen to start a ride. That's all there is to it.
If a crash occurs, a countdown timer will pop up on your phone and an alarm will sound. The amount of time before contacts are notified can be set between 15 and 90 seconds, with 30 seconds as the default setting. If that countdown isn't canceled a text message will go out to notify the emergency contacts stored in the Ride App that there was a potential accident, along with the rider's GPS coordinates.
Specialized's Ride App is required to pair with the ANGi sensor.
What if you crash in an area without cell service? That scenario is even more likely for mountain bikers, but as long as you have an active data signal at the start of the ride you can enter an expected ride duration into the app. If for some reason you don't finish within that timeframe, a text will be sent to your contacts that includes your last known location.
There's no fee to use the ANGi feature - all that's required is a free download of the app. The ANGi sensor is powered by a CR2032 battery, with a claimed run time of 6 months.
MIPS SL was designed to be as light and comfortable as possible while still functioning in the same manner as the original MIPS liner.
ANGi isn't the only new safety feature available on Specialized's helmets. MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) will now be available throughout the lineup, including a version called MIPS SL that was developed specifically for Specialized.
MIPS, which uses a low friction layer to allow the helmet to move 10-15mm in any direction in order to reduce the amount of rotational force that reaches the brain during a crash, isn't exactly new, but Specialized say they were waiting until enough third-party testing had been done to validate the effectiveness of the technology before implementing it.
Helmets equipped with ANGi sensors are available now
, including the Ambush and Dissident mountain bike helmets. In addition, all other 2019 Specialized helmets have a mounting point for attaching an aftermarket ANGi sensor, which sells for $50 USD.