Igniting a Spark

TFS’ Bishop Curry nurtures his sons’ passion for safety inventions

September 19, 2017
 Problem Solver -- Bishop Curry Jr. demonstrates how his invention, Oasis, straps onto a headrest, helps alert authorties and blows cold air on a child left in a hot car.
 


Editor’s Note: Want to see everyone's favorite child inventor, Bishop Curry Jr., in action? Well, click here to watch the video.
 

A lot has happened since Driver’s Seat first wrote about Bishop Curry Jr.’s car safety invention last November. During National Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 17-23, we visited with the 11-year-old to see how it’s going.
 
The young inventor was inspired to create a device, called Oasis, when he learned of a 6-month-old who tragically died after being left in a hot car in his suburban Texas neighborhood last summer. 
 
Today, Bishop has a prototype, a patent attorney and a GoFundMe campaign that has raised nearly $50,000. His dad, Bishop Curry Sr., an operational excellence consultant for Toyota Financial Services, has even formed Kid Ladder LLC to educate and provide kids an outlet to prototype, invent and design.
 
“Bishop connected the dots that I work for a car company,” Bishop Sr. says. “He decided to invent something to solve a problem. There’s a lot of kids just like him who need a voice and platform.”
 

Field Trip -- TFS' Bishop Curry Sr. and his son, Bishop Jr., visited the TMNA Research & Development Center in Michigan to meet with child safety experts.
 

The Right Stuff
 
Bishop Sr. says it was Chuck Gulash, senior executive engineer at Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC), who helped get the ball rolling on Oasis. Gulash invited the duo to Michigan and introduced them to other child safety experts.
 
“None of this would have been possible without Toyota investing in him,” Bishop Sr. says. “When we went to the Toyota Technical Center, all Bishop had was a drawing.”
 
Bishop Jr. taught himself computer-aided design, converted the drawing to a clay model and then had a 3-D prototype printed. He designed Oasis to text parents when a child has been left in a vehicle. It blows cold air if the car reaches a dangerous temperature and alerts authorities.
 
As word spread, Bishop Jr. began appearing on national news stations like NBC and Fox News, the Weather Channel, Canadian TV outlets and even a station from Bulgaria, radio stations and in numerous articles. He has also spoken on national panels like the Childhood Injury Prevention Convention (PrevCon) in Baltimore, Maryland, which provided seed money for Kid Ladder.
 
“I want the awareness to continue to get out, because tragedies are still occurring,” Bishop Jr. says.
 
A GoFundMe campaign set a fundraising goal of $20,000 to cover the cost of a patent attorney, but donations far exceeded their expectations.
 
“People are no longer donating for legal fees, they’re donating for the cause,” Bishop Sr. says of the GoFundMe page. “When summer hit and babies started to pass away it was a way for people to join the movement.”
 

Encouraging Innovation -- Bishop Sr. and his sons, Isaiah (center) and Bishop Jr., talk about Oasis and their other inventions. They've created Kid Ladder LLC to encourage other kids to invent, prototype and design.


What’s Next
 
Over spring break, Bishop Jr. worked with the patent attorney to file, and expedite, the application. The patent is pending and they should know by May 2018 whether it’s been approved. The family's plan is to sell Oasis in stores as a standalone device that fits onto a vehicle’s headrest.
 
This summer, a Miami Dade College School of Business class developed a marketing plan for the device, which also has applications for pets.
 
Oasis is just one of many ideas the inquisitive 11-year-old and his equally curious 9-year-old brother, Isaiah, have brewing.
 
“The ultimate goal is to have zero car deaths in the summer,” Bishop Jr. says. “I don’t care about the credit or anything. I just like making stuff.”
 
By Karen Nielsen


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