A Better Mousetrap

IoTSysA Better Mousetrap

Colorado, USA

Entry By: Greg Cook
Affiliation: Pikes Peak MakerSpace


Instead of continuously catching mice, why not discover how the mice are invading the building in the first place? By using “A Better Mousetrap,” a pest control company or residential user can place a few traps and triangulate the rodent’s entry point. A simple tilt sensor triggers a wireless MCU, which sends an email to the end user to alert them of the time and location of the trap event. This allows pest control companies to efficiently determine which locations need to be serviced, and helps all users identify where the animal is entering the building. Once the location is determined, the root cause of the infestation can be rectified, leaving you with a pest-free building!

How does A Better Mousetrap use Internet Technology?

A Better Mousetrap communicates to its border router using COAP over 802.15.4 with AES encryption.  A cloud service retrieves sensor data from the border router using HTTP.  For device management, the mousetrap communicates with the Atmel Cloud using Proximetry’s native protocols.  We chose to separate device management and operation for enhanced security and discretion – a grocery store does not want it well known that they have a vermin problem!  Therefore, customers access the operations database via HTTPS.

Why did you choose to invent A Better Mousetrap? What problem do you see that it can solve?

We see A Better Mousetrap being used in two markets, commercial and residential.  A pest control company does not know if a mouse has activated the trap without driving to the customer location, which is costly and can waste valuable time.  A residential customer may place a trap in the attic, behind a couch or in a closet, making them difficult to monitor. A Better Mousetrap allows users to know exactly when and where a trap event has occurred, allowing them to clean and reset the traps in a more efficient manner. We have also learned that customers don’t like dead animals laying around!

What is the practical application of A Better Mousetrap for the everyday user?

Besides catching mice, multiple traps can be used to locate the location where mice are invading the building.  The customer can then fix the hole.  The root cause of the mouse infestation has then been mitigated.

Are there plans to produce A Better Mousetrap for the marketplace, or is it already a product that can be purchased/obtained?

A Better Mousetrap will first be sold to pest control companies.  When generation 2 (using Weightless vs. 802.15.4) is delivered, these will be available to residential customers.

Why would you consider A Better Mousetrap to be “innovative”?

There are over 4,500 over-engineered mousetrap patents, some with GPS, SMS alerts and others with sirens.  A Better Mousetrap is a simple tilt sensor that alerts the user to a trap event over wireless and sends them an e-mail.  Mice are most active at night – you don’t need to be gotten out of bed simply because you caught a mouse! A Better Mousetrap allows you to retrieve data and monitor the situation at your convenience.


What would winning IPSO CHALLENGE 2015 mean for you or your company?

Besides being a community space where DIY’ers can make things, a goal of the Pikes Peak MakerSpace is to be an engine for economic development.  The Better Mousetrap has evolved into a company and winning the CHALLENGE would further validate the products and services for us.  A MakerSpace lowers the barrier for converting ideas into “things” in the real world and for real companies.

If selected as the Grand Prize winner, how do you think you will spend the $10,000 prize?

The most popular tool in the Pikes Peak MakerSpace is the Epilog Laser Cutter.  Our current model is only 30 watts, and we would purchase a higher power unit for our members with the prize money.

What would you like to see in the future for the Internet of Things?

There are many competing standards, so choosing any technology is a huge risk.  In the short term, I’d like to see continued collaboration in an effort to consolidate the best ideas.  Also, security and privacy are major concerns and more effort needs to be put toward solving the challenges surrounding these areas.

Why should more companies utilize IP?

Solid architectures are built on standards (and implemented by products).  With the scale of end-points (things) suggested by marketing research and corporations, interoperability is a must before customers and consumers purchase IoT devices in volume.  It’s not just one product, but products working together seamlessly where customers will reap the full benefits of the IoT.

Why did you decide to enter IPSO CHALLENGE 2015?

50% of IoT devices will come from makers and startups.  The MakerSpace is in the business of both! The MakerSpace members entered the CHALLENGE with the goal of starting an Internet Of Things company. The team came up with the Better Mousetrap during our group brainstorming exercise and we are excited to carry the idea forward!

Contact Information:


Twitter: @PikesPeakMakers