Pithons love MICE!

pithons_love_mice

 

For the FLL 2016 Animal Allies challenge we came up with a lot of ideas, but the one we liked best was about mice and live mouse traps. One of the dads of our team mentioned how he had caught a mouse in a live trap, but forgot to check it. The mouse didn’t make it.

So we thought maybe we should find a way to notify you when you catch something. We worked with a hardware development engineer from UC San Diego. We also worked with a programmer from one of our team sponsors, FTS. We looked at a lot of different devices we could use to make this happen. We also looked at a lot of different live mouse traps from different companies. We liked a metal trap from Havahart Brand because it was the most recommended trap to keep the mice alive and it gives them room to move and breathe.

We worked with experts to figure out how to make all this happen. We decided to use a Sparkfun Electronics ESP8266 Thing because it can connect to the Internet over Wifi, it can be programmed like an Arduino using Scratch, it’s small, and it’s fairly cheap. We even made this into a kit at Sparkfun.

We use a tilt switch to detect when a trap is triggered, then we do a few things:

  1. We blink a bright LED on the trap
  2. Every 30 seconds we log the trap status to data.sparkfun.com using Phant
  3. We send an alert to the person who set the trap using a mobile app called Blynk
  4. We also send a text message to the person

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Click here to see more pictures!

And we’re excited because when we wrote to Havahart, they responded and now we’re getting feedback from them on our idea! We can’t wait to improve our idea even more. Thank you to Woodstream owners of the Havahart Brand for being willing to work with out team! Taking time to listen to ideas from kids when you are a big, busy corporation is unusual and exciting.

HOW TO BUILD THE MOUSE TRAP ALERT

We’re still posting instructions, but you can see all the parts, our code and the final prototype. We’re working on step-by-step instructions.

Mouse Trap Alert Project