Melissa fifth grader Bishop Curry Jr. the is fascinated with making things. From creating a home-made catapult and ping pong ball cannon, to thinking of ways to melt ice and snow on roads without using salt.
His latest idea is getting more attention — a car seat that can help prevent hot car deaths in children.
“I made a clay prototype and the invention’s name is Oasis,” Curry said.
The idea is to build a car seat or car seat cover that will detect when a child has been left inside a hot vehicle and alert parents to the child’s situation. The car seat will also come with the technology to help cool down the child while he or she waits to be rescued.
Initially Curry said his idea was to make a car seat cover with three fans, but he’s also thinking about creating a full car seat with the ability to link up with a vehicle’s air conditioning system and turn it on automatically.
Last year, Curry had the opportunity to attend the Center for Child Injury Prevention Conference where he presented his car seat idea to car seat manufactures.
“It’s really important to me because I didn’t think a kid my age would be able to go this far,” he said.
For a 10-year-old, Curry’s gotten pretty far with his idea. His father, Bishop Curry Sr. the 4th, who works for Toyota, told the company about the device. Toyota decided to send Curry Jr. and his dad to the Toyota Technical Center in Detroit, where they both got the opportunity to witness safety tests on vehicles.
At the safety conference, Curry Jr. even got a one-on-one conversation with the director of engineering and program management for Evenflo, a company that manufactures car seats and child devices.
Curry Jr. explained that the idea for the device came to him last summer.
“There was like a car death and then like a month later there was another one, and then the third one it kind of popped into my head,” he said.
One of the children who died lived just down the road from Curry Jr. A 6-month-old girl who was left in a hot car for up to four hours. The girl’s father, Michael Thedford, was charged with manslaughter.
That incident hit close to home for Curry Jr., who remembers what it was like to lose his grandfather.
“I know what it feels like to lose a family member that’s really close to you,” he said. “I don’t want anybody else to feel that.”
Curry’s father said he tries to nurture both his son’s ideas.
“They come up with great inventions all the time. There’s a catapult in the garage,” he said. “Isaiah built a plow to pull behind my riding lawn mower, but this particular one I knew, given the multiple of deaths that happen in Texas because of hot cars, I knew I had to do all I could to make people aware of it.”
Curry’s father has an intellectual patent on the idea and said he’s spoken with lawyers about the next step.
“Twenty thousand dollars will get us a formal patent and then it will also take us into the prototype production,” he said.
Currently, Curry Jr. and his father have created a clay prototype and drawings of his idea.
“The cool thing about Bishop’s thinking is none of this technology is new,” Curry’s father said. “We have things to alert our phone, we have ways to provide either cooling through a fan or through an air condition system. We have ways to detect weight. So none of it is new, so we feel like the way he’s thinking and combining all these technologies will get to production faster than if it’s something that is just a brand new type of technology.”
While Curry’s idea has a long way before it becomes a reality, he has thought about seeing his invention for the first time.
“I’d be like, ‘What?’” he said. “I’d probably pinch myself to see if I was dreaming.”