Computing stuff tied to the physical world

Wireless mousetrap

In Hardware on Oct 22, 2010 at 00:01

Mathias Johansson recently sent me a description of his project which is just too neat to pass up. So here goes – photos by him and most of the text is also adapted from what he told me in a few emails.

I’ll let Mathias introduce his project:

It is late autumn here in Sweden and the mice starts to search for a winter home. They do normally stay outside modern constructions but I have a croft that is over 100 years old and they tend to like my attic. Mice are pretty cute, and I wish them no harm, but they damage my ceilings! Therefore I have to catch them in traps and transport them deep into the forest and release them near the brink of a stream.

Some properties of each of the three traps built so far:

  • Does not harm the mouse
  • Immediately reports which trap is closed on a webpage
  • Disables itself if the alarm system is turned on for longer periods of absence

Here’s the mousetrap, ready to go:

Mouse Trap

With a guest…

Mouse in Trap

And here the status page indicating which traps have been sprung:


The schematic was implemented on what looks like a mini breadboard, here’s the Fritzing version of it:

Musetrap v0 1 bb

The infrared receiver was salvaged from a BoeBot and is used to detect the presence of a guest to spring the trap. Note that by the time it detects something, the tail of the mouse will be mostly inside the trap, so this is a gentle as it gets – well, if you’re a mouse…

Mathias concludes with:

Feel free to publish the pictures (and text) in your “success story” forum or elsewhere on your web-page if you think they are of interest to others or inspire new uses for the JeeNode.

Thanks, Mathias, for sharing your ideas and your delightful rodent-friendly project!

  1. Cuuuuuute!

    So once it has caught a mouse, does it let him back out again if you don’t come and service the trap so he doesn’t starve in the box?

  2. That is indeed a delightful project! Great execution with trap status indicated by a mouse-in-a-box picture & a windowed trap.

  3. No but it is a good idea! I fix it. As it is now the trap is automatically disabled if the alarm system is turned on and do not trap a mouse if I’m not at home. The house computer send a SMS to my mobile (besides indicating what trap closed on a webpage) when a trap springs. I relocate the mice to a nice (for mice) but distant place in the forest. I have to use car for the transport but I respond within a few hours. The best part about the new trap is that has a gap (5mm) between the door so the tail of the mouse newer get hurt again. The commercial units tend to do that. I have noticed that the mice are much less stressed. Yesterday, I needed to knock on the end of the trap to motivate one to exit as it was so happy about the cheese.

  4. That’s just too cute… How long before you get live video streaming of your prisoner to your mobile phone? :o)

    Be careful with that 5mm gap. I don’t know how small the mice get in Sweden, but over here in the UK one of the species would get through that gap, or at least give it a good go! The rule of thumb is if you can fit a pencil through the hole, this particular mouse can get through it. I’ll try to remember which mouse it is.

    Are you really using cheese? I always baited my humane, but not as cute, traps with chocolate or raisins.

    Now, unfortunately for the mice, I have a cat. Although he does tend to bring them inside perfectly alive and well to keep for company, and then loses them when they run under the fridge – leaving me to retrieve them. Yes, my house now has more mice now I have a cat!

  5. I don’t think a Swedish mouse can pass a 5mm gap (at least no one have escaped so far). The smallest mouse holes I have observed is about 15mm and I guess they do not make them larger than necessary? Maybe the only Swedish dormouse ( can? It is smaller but it do not normally enter the house, it use to sleep in the garden.

    The use of cheese in mousetraps is traditional in Sweden. But I have used acorn,hazelnuts and sunflower seeds to. The problem is that you may accidentally trap a squirrel (I’m talking about larger traps used in barns).

  6. I think the Hazel Dormouse is the one. Cute little chaps.

    I think cheese in traps is international. I think we might have Tom and Jerry cartoons to thanks for that. The man in the trap shop told me that chocolate works better.

    Well if a bigger trap might catch squirrels it sounds like you need to put a weight detector in the MkII :-D

    Even with cheese I would have to watch out. My stupid cat likes it! Turns his nose up at half the cat food I buy, but eats marmite, cheese and even some cooked onion the other day. I think he might be part labrador!

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