I am fascinated by the idea of simple and inexpensive hardware providing advanced and interesting functionality. Nest was valued at 2.3 Billion dollars by making a $250 device with a thermal sensor and a switch. The real value is in providing data about energy use. The exact same value can be provided in pest control: simply equip traps with a sensor package that is triggered by a kill or capture and send notifications via the internet that the trap should be serviced. More powerfully, relevant pest data can be recorded and logged such as environmental conditions such as temperature, light, sound, and other metrics. Having a device like this will reduce visits by service people who check traps and can also drastically improve service times as removing traps can be done in a very timely basis.
What it does
The Better Mousetrap sends a message to the owner (house owner or pest control service) and records environmental data.
This device has benefits in three important areas: Cities, Buildings, and healthcare
By widespread use of the Better Mousetrap, the connected traps can map out where the traps have been more successful and the data can be recorded over time to see how the infestations move across the city or when new ones arrive. Further, ambient, environmental data provided by the widespread sue of these traps can help monitor conditions around the city that can be correlated to other characteristics such as crime rate, energy use and so forth.
The fast response time that is enabled by instant messaging to the pest control company will serve to eliminate pests in a timely manner while minimizing the number of times pest control personel need to enter buildings and apartments and offices.
Finally in healthcare, the rat maps that is possible with Better Mousetraps, can be correlated to disease rates. But better than that is the fact the vermin trapping can be done in a "set-it and forget it" manner, possibly reducing the overall disease carrying, rodent populations throughout entire area.
How I built it
I used a Woodstream multiple live catch trap link and used the metal trap mechanism as a switch. The software sees the trap ramp leave the top position and them get to the bottom position which can only happen when a mouse fully enters the trap. This triggers a data storage command and sends a text to the owner an puts a reminder in their to do list using IFTTT.
Challenges I ran into The top switch is hokey. The metal on metal contact is not reliable and I had to spend a large amount of time improving that. Other than that normal learning curves for using the Photon and IFTTT
Accomplishments that I'm proud of This old dog learned a couple of new tricks with the world of internet tools. I've perhaps convinced myself I could turn this into a real product.
What I learned The particle environment. I learned my old spark devices are not to be used in the future. I learned how to utilize IFTTT.
What's next for A Better Mousetrap Win $1000 dollars to help confidence in actually pursuing this as a line of business. The sensor and electronics package can be made to be incredibly small and low power. If people believe in this device, I'll talk to pest control companies about what sort of other information might be relevant and useful.
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