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Bike safety innovation contest announced

BY LOUIS BERGERON

Negotiating the chaotic, morphing-by-the-moment, byzantine patterns of bicycle traffic on campus is no small challenge. Hence the choice of bike safety for the focus of the 2008 Invention Challenge, sponsored by Stanford Biodesign and Parking & Transportation Services in conjunction with the Stanford Entrepreneurship Network's EWeek.

The challenge is to get Stanford students, in teams of up to four, to think of new ways to prevent or mitigate bicycle-related injury. The hope is that the competition will result in new products, methods or solutions to existing safety problems on campus and elsewhere.

With 87 percent of the campus population getting around by bike, there will be ample opportunity to see the winning ideas put into action. And with 96 campus accidents involving bikes and motor vehicles reported between 2003 and 2007—87 of which involved injury—there is clearly a need for innovative ideas.

In case the sheer altruistic joy of technological innovation in the name of bicycle safety for the people isn't reward enough, there are also cash prizes from $1,000 to $5,000 for the ideas judged to be the best, as well as numerous bicycling accessories for the first 25 entrants.

Individuals and teams must register at http://bikechallenge.stanford.edu no later than Dec. 1.

Submissions will be due Feb. 6. Entrants must present their concept in text, images or other media in sufficient detail to convince judges that the proposed device or method could actually be made or employed, but physical prototypes are not required.

Finalists will make presentations to the judges in mid-February, and the winners will be announced Feb. 25 as part of the EWeek Showcase.