Ralph Waldo Emerson once said "build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Perhaps that’s what motivated Tom to keep trying to catch Jerry using ever more elaborate Rube Goldberg-esq traps that ultimately failed. Few things can be said to be inspired by both Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Tom & Jerry cartoon, but the better mousetrap is one of them. With a smattering of technology and peanut butter, we can make that better mousetrap a reality.
With winter fast upon us, I’ve already been victim to the annual rodent indoor migration. I happened across one of them in the basement while looking for something. Scared the crap out of me. Instead of waiting for signs of mice, I thought it might be a good idea to set up a semi-permanent trap.
Just because we don’t like having Mrs. Frisby in our house doesn’t mean we have to use a death trap. I wanted to build a trap that doesn’t kill. Imagine a semi-permanent trap that’s set out in basement, garage, or attic. I don’t want to have to go to the basement or attic to check the trap everyday. And I don’t want the little critters to die of starvation while they’re detained. So I need the trap to notify me via email the moment a mouse is captured. Since the traps are also located in dark places, I also want an LED as an easy line-of-sight indicator.
Interesting thing about mice is that they’re territorial. If you have a couple of mice in close quarters with no where to go, things might deteriorate into a battle royale. Could get pretty nasty, and defeats the goal of a humane trap. The best solution for catching multiple mice is to have more than one trap, and make each trap only let in a single mouse.
With those things in mind, these are my design goals for making a real smart mousetrap.
1) Easy to build, escape proof, live and let live
2) Notifies me the moment a mouse is caught, via email and audible notification
3) Trap only lets in one mouse at a time
4) Simple LED indicator to tell you if there's a mouse in the trap
First the video demo, then the steps for the build.
See next step for parts list.
2. Bucket ($5)
3. Large piece of cardboard
7. Pieces of plastic or sheet metal, whatever you have laying around.
8. Resistors, 220 Ohm and 10k Ohm
Wire up the Spark Core breadboard circuit following this wiring diagram. Click to enlarge.
Your circuit should look something like this.
I included a temperature sensor in the circuit because they're so inexpensive.