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Cincinnati Country Day School InvenTeam Reveals Invention for Improving Bike Safety 

Cincinnati Country Day School InvenTeam Reveals Invention for Improving Bike Safety 

Parents, teachers, classmates, and community members gathered for the CCDS InvenTeam's Mid-Grant Technical Review to find out what the team has been working on since their first meeting last July. 

Their invention? A (patent pending!) safe passing distance indicator for road bicycles. 

Country Day students Ayaan Arif `25, Alex Back `25, Donovan Gray `25, Kate Kranias `26, Lucia Murdoch `25, Kevin Pearson `25, and Jason Starodub `26 explained the application process, their bicycle safety research, the technical details of their invention, and next steps. The students also gave the first public demonstration of their working prototype. 

“I am incredibly proud of our team,” says co-educator Jamie Back, Upper School STEAM teacher and makerspace coordinator. “Each team member presented with poise and confidence, showcasing the team's passion for and understanding of the work we've been doing for months. This was made even more evident during the Q&A portion of the program, when team members answered impromptu questions from the audience with thoughtful and informed responses.” 

During the presentation, the team revealed that their  invention had four integral parts that will help bicyclists be  safer while cycling on the road: an “always-running” light that will alert motorists of their presence, a turn signal, a green laser line that projects onto the ground on each side of the bicycle to indicate the legal passing distance to drivers,  and an AI system that alerts the bicyclist when a motor vehicle is approaching. 

“This journey was not an easy one, but the students gained a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge,” states Angela Barber-Joiner, co-educator and director of belonging and well-being. “It included challenges and celebrations, which built resiliency and agency that will enable them to be confident leaders.” 

A good example would be when technical subteam members Jason Starodub and Alex Back shared details about the working prototype. 

When asked about challenges that the team encountered, Alex Back, technical lead, stated, “When working on the prototype there were a lot of issues. I’ve had to spend a lot of time outside of meetings sometimes painfully going through revision after revision [before finding success].” 

After spending over 250 hours together since becoming a team last June, it was clear that these talented and hard-working students learned so much from this hands-on experience. 

As the leader of the communications subteam, Ayan Arif `25 conducts media relations to help tell the team’s story and provide progress reports to local media outlets. 

“I’m not memorizing how to conduct media outreach for a test next week,” says Arif. “I’m actually going through the process and learning how to do it.” 

Kate Kranias `26 believes the most important skill the team has learned so far is how to communicate better with each other. 

“This isn’t a group project where you work on it for a week and then present,” says Kranias. “We’re all very passionate about this and continue to be passionate about it; so, learning how to share that [passion] in a constructive and productive way is the biggest takeaway for me.” 

According to the InvenTeam website, an InvenTeam is comprised of students, teachers and community mentors that pursue a year-long invention project that is supported by the Lemelson-MIT (LMIT) program. The goal of the program is to engage students in creative thinking, problem-solving and hands-on learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

Donovan Gray `25 explained how special the InvenTeam program is and how it differentiates itself from other high school clubs. 

“You can’t find real work like this in any other club,” says Gray. “High school students are doing the work that college students, or even law students, would be doing. Where else are you going to figure out how to write a provisional patent, and actually get it filed, when we are just a bunch of juniors and sophomores in high school?” 

Lucia Murdoch agrees with Gray about how special the program is and how it changed her approach to problem-solving. 

"The inventor's state of mind is a whole new way of thinking,” says Murdoch. “It’s definitely a mindset shift on how to approach other problems.” 

Involvement in the InvenTeam has also opened Kevin Pearson’s mind to future possibilities. 

 “By working on the bicycle safety issue, it has sparked new ideas that I could potentially innovate later on in my life if I continue down the path as an engineer.” 

The CCDS InvenTeam still has work to complete on their bicycle safety invention, which is now patent pending. They must continue improving the AI system and add a few more electronic and mechanical features to the prototype. The team will also prepare the display and materials for their final showcase this June. They will travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts to present their finalized version of the invention at EurekaFest on MIT’s campus. 

For more information about the CCDS InvenTeam, visit CCDS InvenTeam - Cincinnati Country Day.