Case Study

Building a better mouse trap

The pest control industry works tirelessly to keep rats and mice out of homes, offices and warehouses. Recently it has been coming to grips with a new problem. A problem they are beginning to address with a little help from MMC.

Over use of industrial poisons has produced a generation of rodents who are resistant to anything but the most potent toxins. These resistant rats and mice can eat the tainted food pellets unphased, then reproduce and pass on their immunity to the next generation. These rats are living longer, they're bigger and stronger. Evolution at work.

Household pets and wild animals sometimes eat these poison-filled rodents, causing what environmentalists call “secondary poisoning”. And the excessively high levels of toxin necessary to kill resistant rodents can introduce scary risks of contamination for humans, especially where rodents cross paths with the food supply chain - a more frequent occurrance than we might like to think about. To address this problem EU legislation is already in effect in several countries that bans poisons and requires the use of mechanical traps instead. These regulations are being rolled out across the EU over the next few years.

The mechanical traps, affectionately known in the industry as “break-back traps”, resemble the mouse trap we all know - only far more lethal.

The use of mechanical traps is already governed by health and safety laws but these types of traps are not used by the industry when not required because the regulations state they must be checked every 24 hours. This is a costly A costly burden on pest control companies. The EU legislation arriving soon the industry has to adapt.

PEST CONTROL GOES WIRELESS

The solution to this expensive problem is radio monitoring of the traps. There is no need to manually check the traps every day if they are being monitored by radio. The health and safety concerns are satisfied and the pest control companies can avoid daily visits to all their clients. When explaiend like this the problem seems easy to fix, however the cost of manufacturing sensors, poor battery life and inadequate radio range have been just some of the problems standing in the way of an industry-wide solution.

A Dublin startup called Traptec have invested heavily in R&D to produce a radio-monitored alarm platform that overcomes these problems and have launched a range of trap monitoring equipment that reliably delivers up to five years battery shelf-life, works over long-ranges and which communicates directly with the Internet for ease-of-use and rapid reporting.

MMC Software helped them do it.

EMBEDDED SENSOR SOFTWARE

Traptec had the in-house talent and experience to develop the hardware platform but they required a radio meshnet that began in the sensors on the traps and ended online, in the cloud. The action of a trap snapping shut needed to be recorded in an online dashboard for pest control companies to see and respond to. The sensors needed to network together and relay signals for any of their brethen which were out-of-range of the base station and the whole setup had to be easy to setup and easy to use.

Working with Traptec's skilled hardware team we brought an understanding of networking protocols and the development stack necessary to realize the project. Traptec's solution is now being represented across Europe by a major industry distributor, each sensor running custom meshnet software and reporting into a cloud dashboard.

Traptec remain a client and we continue to help them expand their offering and grow their trap-monitoring product line.

Find out more about Traptect at http://traptec.eu/

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