“Hot car deaths shouldn’t happen to anybody. So I invented a device to prevent them.”
Two years ago, a baby in 10-year-old Bishop Curry’s neighborhood passed away after she was left in a car in the summer heat. She was about the same age as Bishop’s little sister, and he couldn’t get her out of his mind. He knew that there must be a way to prevent hot car deaths. So Bishop put pen to paper and invented a simple device with the potential to save hundreds of lives.
Bishop has always loved inventing and building things with his brother, whether it’s a catapult, a cannon that launches ping-pong balls, or a way to melt icy roads without salt. He is a regular robotics and STEM camp attendee and believes in the power of science to change the world.
So when Bishop learned about the little girl who died in a hot car and was the same age as his sister, he became angry-not at the parents, but that there wasn’t a solution to prevent this in the first place. And when Bishop learns of a problem, he doesn’t just groan. He pulls out a piece of paper and solves it.
“The idea just kind of popped in my brain automatically,” he says. “Hot car deaths shouldn’t happen to anybody. So I invented a device to prevent them.”
Bishop sketched out a simple device-one that could attach to any car seat and save hundreds of lives. His invention used sensors to detect temperature and the presence of a baby in the seat, alert parents first and then authorities to come to the rescue, and employ cooling fans to protect the baby until help arrives. He called the device Oasis.
Quickly, Bishop got to work on experimenting with sensors and building a prototype. He built his first model for Oasis out of clay, and then eventually constructed one out of blue plastic with a 3D printer.
As he tinkered with his invention, the word began to spread. Reporters came out to interview Bishop about Oasis. When they saw its potential, they recommended that he and his parents start a GoFundMe to help the device get to the next level.
Soon after, Bishop’s father started a GoFundMe called Help Bishop End Hot Car Deaths so that they could afford the legal fees necessary to secure a patent for Oasis. Over the course of a year, they raised more than $50,000.
“We were so surprised by how much support we got,” says Bishop’s mother, Tia. “The word spread, and it was so easy for people to share his campaign and his passion. It blew our minds how quickly he raised the money.”
With the patent money in place, all that was left to do was to wait until the patent came through. But in the meantime, Bishop kept busy. He traveled around the country speaking at conferences about his device and even gave a TEDx Talk in April 2018 to encourage other kids to make a difference.
“He wants to inspire kids to think big and not devalue their ideas just because they think people won’t support them, their age will work against them, or they have limited finances,” says Tia.
On April 10, 2018, Bishop and his family finally got the news they’d been waiting for: 11-year-old Bishop was now a patent holder.
Immediately, they got to work on the next step for Oasis: manufacturing. Bishop found a company that helps inventors finalize their products and connects them with manufacturers to bring products to market.
Now, Bishop has a new GoFundMe to bring Oasis to market and get it in the hands of parents and caregivers across the country.
For his next step, Bishop needs to raise enough money to cover at least 140 hours of design, testing, and assembly. It will likely cost much more than the $50k they originally raised, but to get started, Bishop has set his first fundraising goal at $10k.
Once they iron out the details of Oasis, Bishop hopes that the device will cost less than $50 so that he can get it in the hands of as many people as possible. Currently, 37 US kids die in hot cars every year. He plans to change that.
“My ultimate goal is to get these devices manufactured and put in stores and save at least one life,” says Bishop. “If I can save more, that would be great.”