DIY mouse trap sends photo alert when critter is caught

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The RaspiTrap sends a photo notification when the door is closed behind a trapped mouse, which can then be released a safe distance from the home

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Humane mouse traps come in all shapes and sizes, but the aim of the game is the same – catch the pesky rodents that are munching through your breakfast cereal and evict them from the premises. For the most part, electronics don't feature. The RaspiTrap from tinkerer Alain Mauer is a little different. With the help of a slice of Raspberry Pi, a splash of IR sensor flavoring and some Wi-Fi magic, it sends a photo notification when the door closes behind a new prisoner.

The frame of the RaspiTrap is made from 5 mm foam PVC sheets, cut to shape according to some CAD designs created by Mauer. The box is divided into two sections, one for the electronics and the other to act as a temporary home for the captured mouse. Viewing windows cut into the sides of the housing have TEMIC K153P IR sensors installed behind 3 mm thick transparent acrylic plates.

In the enclosed rear section, there's a Raspberry Pi development board running Arch Linux, a custom PCB for the IR barrier, a servo motor and a Pi camera module. The latter is fronted by a wide-angle fish-eye lens. A thin metal bar runs from the servo to a thin PVC door. The electronics are mains powered through the Raspberry Pi, Python scripts dictate the actions of the trap and a Wi-Fi dongle connects it all to a wireless home network.

As you can see from the video below, when a mouse wanders into the RaspiTrap it breaks the IR beam. This causes the servo to pull the pin holding the door aloft and the only escape route is cut off. After a short while an LED illuminates inside the device and the Pi camera snaps a photo of the new arrival. This is then sent via email to a predetermined account, prompting the user to recover the trap and release the occupant a safe distance away from home.

Mauer says to place enough food and water in the trap to ensure a healthy animal gets safely released, and advises that all of the mice caught by the RaspiTrap so far are now enjoying the great outdoors.

He plans to further tweak the trap by adding live view to the setup and, though air can already get into the device, a few air holes are to be strategically placed on the cover. If you want to make your very own RaspiTrap, build plans for version 1.0 have been posted on Instructables.

Source: Alain Mauer

View gallery - 7 images

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