We are pleased to announce the winners of the Invention Challenge:

1st Place: Team Lite Brite for their invention of a lighting system for a helmet that promotes visibility and encourages helmet use

2nd Place: Team SkullFX for their halo light that projects light downward to the ground and in outward directions for maximum visibility

3rd Place: Team FCBC for daytime brights and intersection detection using RFID technology.

Read more on our Winners page. Read the article in the Stanford Report.

The Biodesign Program and Parking & Transportation, in conjunction with the Stanford Entrepreneurship Network's EWeek, welcome you to the 2008 Invention Challenge. The invention this year is focused on bicycle safety. Students and student teams are asked to invent a device, method, process or technique that will have a positive effect on the prevention or mitigation of bicycle injury.

In order to get more people riding and create a safer community for all riders, bicycle safety should be our number one priority and a continuous effort made to educate riders on safety issues, bike laws, maintaining a safe bike and respecting others on shared roadways. Achieving this goal requires the effort of every cyclist to take proper safety precautions and observe the traffic laws. Learning to ride a bike is easy; learning to ride responsibly takes good judgement and common sense. Wearing helmets, even for short trips, obeying all the rules of the road and sharing the roads and paths with other users are all important elements. This challenge is for you—help us innovate to make our campus safer.

Bicycling is ideally suited to the Stanford area's mild climate, flat terrain and gentle, rolling hills. It's a quiet, affordable, and healthy way to get around—over 87% of the campus population gets around on 2 wheels. It's also an antidote to the South Bay's growing traffic congestion, noise and air pollution. Bikes aren't just for fun anymore - a growing number of people are choosing to commute on non-motorized wheels and the higher gas prices has increased non-motorized mode share on the campus.


The Invention Challenge is designed to stimulate technology innovation at Stanford University by addressing real problems in areas ripe for invention. Through literature, and, where appropriate, patent searches and iteration of solutions to the proposed challenge, participants experience the process of innovation and learn the basics of technology development. In addition, participants become familiar in working with the Office of Technology Licensing and its role to transfer university-developed inventions to the public sector.

The challenge is to develop devices that can help reduce the number and consequence of injuries due to bicycle accidents.
Consider the following concerns:

Between 2003 and 2007 there were 96 bike crashes involving bikes and vehicles at Stanford that were reported.

87 of the 96 crashes involved an injury.

40 of the collisions involved students (either as driver or cyclist)

*Data provided by Stanford Police Service, 2008

The bigger picture

80% of bicyclists who die each year in the US were not wearing helmets

For children in California, only 25% wear helmets where it is mandated by law

Head injury is by far the greatest risk posed to bicyclists: comprising one-third of emergency department visits, two-thirds of hospital admissions, and three-fourths of deaths.

*Data from National Safe Kids Campaign

Recent Survey results
Students at Stanford were surveyed for their understanding of bicycle safety and helmet use:

Over 50% were concerned for their appearance and did not wear a helmet

40% thought helmets were inconvenient

35% didn't think it was necessary to wear helmets (going slowly, area safe, only riding a few miles)

*Data from recent survey of Stanford students, 2008

Bicyclists and the Law
Bicyclists have the same rights but are also subject to the same responsibilities of the vehicle code as the driver of a vehicle. The top 3 violations that bicyclists are cited for on campus include:

1. Not stopping at stop signs

2. Not riding with a headlight at night

3. Wearing a headset/earphones with earpods in both ears