Project image
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CA$ 1,193
pledged of CA$ 150,000pledged of CA$ 150,000 goal
12
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 5 2015
Last updated May 5, 2015

Mouse-Minder non-lethal mousetrap with email notification

Humane mousetrap that sends email when you’ve caught a mouse. You've got mouse mail! Easy to set. Easy to clean. Reusable.

Mouse-Minder non-lethal mousetrap with email notification

Humane mousetrap that sends email when you’ve caught a mouse. You've got mouse mail! Easy to set. Easy to clean. Reusable.

CA$ 1,193
pledged of CA$ 150,000pledged of CA$ 150,000 goal
12
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 5 2015
Last updated May 5, 2015

About

Help us make this mousetrap available to the world. This is a non-lethal, catch-and-release mouse trap, that notifies you via email when you catch a mouse. Because you are notified, there is less chance of a "humane trap" becoming a death-trap because you forget to check the trap.

While many people are glad to simply eliminate a mouse if it is a pest, for various reasons some people feel differently. We would like to make a  humane mousetrap available to those people who want one. With your help we can mass produce this trap and make it available at an affordable price.

The Mouse Minder mousetrap exists.

This is not just an idea. The trap you watched in the video actually exists. Nothing in the video was simulated or faked (except the mouse). The email notification you saw on the screen was sent by the mousetrap via local WiFi, out to the internet and back to the email mailbox.  The trap has evolved through at least nine major design revisions with many refinements. In order to produce the trap at a cost that will allow for a practical retail price your help is needed.

The existing trap prototype does the following:

  • It readily and repeatedly catches mice.  We have caught many mice for testing (and no mice were harmed in the process).
  • It notifies you with an email when a mouse is caught.
    (This depends on a local WiFi network and an internet connection provided by the person using the trap.)
  • The trap Is easy to bait and set. If you have used other catch-and-release traps you know this can be frustrating with some designs. 
  • You can easily and cleanly transport the mouse in the trap to a suitable location to safely release the mouse. Without a lot of mouse "stuff" falling out in the process.
  • The trap is much much easier to clean than any other trap we have used. If you have never used a catch-and-release trap, you probably do not appreciate the significance of this.
  • The trap does not kill mice. There are some advertised "non-lethal" traps that if not precisely adjusted will kill the mouse during the capture process. Any trap that does not notify you has the potential to be a death-trap if you forget the mouse in the trap.
  • The trap can be reused over and over.  We have tested the motorized door mechanism though thousands of cycles. There is no reason to expect failure during any normal usage.

It is a better mouse trap.

What your contributions will be used for

  • The design and tooling for injection molded housings. A significant part of the budget is allocated to the final design and creation of molds to make the housings. 
  • Purchasing electronic components in volume. In order to substantially reduce the cost of components we need to place orders of a minimum of 1000 pieces of each part.
  • Software development. We have used different techniques for getting an email from the trap to you, and for getting your email address and WiFi log-in information into the trap. While this all works, it is way too complicated for the average trap owner to use. We need to make this much easier to use. 
  • The manufacturing of the first 1000+ housings. Your contributions will also be used to manufacture the housing and doors for the first batch of traps we produce.
  • Design and manufacture of a plug-board circuit card. To reduce final assembly time and increase reliability we need to build a circuit-board made that allows all the components to simply “plug in”, eliminating the need for any hand soldering.
  • Delivering and warehousing mousetraps at Amazon. The first phase distribution strategy is to deliver quantities of the traps to be warehoused, sold and "shipped by Amazon" as Amazon Prime products.

Below are some conceptual images of the housing. They are not representations of any final design, but these and other drawings have been used to get estimates from plastic parts manufacturers.

The two drawings on the left show the housing as it would be used, one side is for the mouse and one side for the components. 

You may notice that the CAD drawings of the housing are rectangular while the working prototype is round. The plan is to make a housing that is a very rounded rectangular shape. This will avoid corners for easy cleaning, add about 8% to the volume of the trap and to make manufacturing of housings as well as final assembly of the traps simple. We will also improve the appearance in the process.

The drawings on the right show the OPTIONAL stretch goal design objectives. These show how the part that contains the mouse can be made removable for easy and thorough cleaning. This requires more complex tooling, at least two molds, and also requires redesign of the sensor arrangement and software. This will probably not be available in the first production of the trap.  However this design has been tested as a prototype and works well. Producing this design will most likely depend on exceeding our target goal.

Does the world want a better mousetrap?

This is the big question for us. We feel that this is genuinely a better mouse trap, and the internet function is not just hype. It has a real purpose in increasing the odds the mouse does not die in the trap. In the process of addressing our own mouse challenges, we realized that this trap could be built and sold at a retail price of around $45.00. Hopefully we could reduce this price significantly in in future releases. Some ultrasonic mouse deterrents sell for twice that much, and the established catch-and-release trap sells for over half our target price with no form of notification. We believe we can build this trap in volume and distribute it on-line profitably at a reasonable price, if enough people actually want one.

Do enough people want a trap like this to make it practical to build? It is up to you folks.  With the help of just a few thousand people, out of the millions who have mouse problems, we could make this trap available at a price that is in-line with other non-lethal solutions.

We have taken it this far.  We have put over a thousand hours and thousands of dollars into this project, but are not prepared to go further without additional financial investment, and an indication that this is a product people do want.

Maybe just the process itself will bring about some awareness and consideration of how we approach things that irritate us. Maybe we could bring just a tiny bit more kindness to this world.


A quick word about rewards

There are significant one-time start-up costs to this project and each mousetrap has a real cost of about 1/2 the target retail price. Unlike CDs, DVDs or down-loadable products, we can't simply offer full versions of the product for small contributions. It has been a challenge to devise a reward strategy that does reward you for backing the project, but leaves enough capital for start-up costs, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, distribution and the unknowns of a new venture.  As you can see we are asking for more than the projected retail price of a trap to get a trap as a reward, and for smaller contributions we are offering only a token of appreciation. We have also made this token something that can be shipped inexpensively so that the bulk of your contributions go to creating a business that will make these traps available, rather than to the shipping costs of fulfilling the rewards.  See our "thank you" sticker below .

Mouse Minder weatherproof self-adhesive sticker
Mouse Minder weatherproof self-adhesive sticker

Other ways you can help

If you have contributed, Thanks! But even if you decide not to contribute you can still help immensely by spreading the word about our campaign. Please share our campaign with your friends and family, or anyone you know who may be interested in making an affordable non-lethal mouse trap available to the public.

Stretch objectives.

If there is strong interest in producing this product and we exceed our Kickstarter goal we would like to add some of the following functions and features to the initial design and production run. The specific improvements we may include will depend on the amount by which we might exceed the goal, the projected cost to implement the particular enhancement, If the improvement would delay production, and of course input from you, our backers.

  • Add blue-tooth notification and configuration application for smart-phones 
  •  Improve power management so the trap will run on batteries for a week. The trap will currently run on 6 AA batteries, but we would like to include a rechargeable battery option, increase the reliable running time and include a low battery email alert. 
  •  Make mouse-section detachable and fully immersible in water for even easier cleaning. Please note: currently the trap design it is very water tolerant and easy to clean, but the electronics section is not fully immersible. 
  •  Provide a lower-cost non-email version of the trap that optionally could be upgraded to full internet version. 
  •  Build the trap so it is compatible with emerging "smart home" Internet-of-Things protocols

Risks and challenges

Meeting our commitments to you, our backers, is very important to us. For this reason we have incorporated two elements into this campaign strategy.
First we are allowing plenty of room for the unexpected in our time-frame for producing and delivering rewards to you. If we get things done sooner, we will deliver the rewards sooner.

Secondly, we have built a cautious budget and then added to it to deal with the unexpected. We would much prefer to not meet our Kickstarter funding goal, than to reach the goal and then not have the capital necessary to deliver on our commitments to you.
If we can accomplish our objectives for less than expected we can build more traps, spend more for marketing or possibly include some of our stretch-goal objectives.

There are two stages of the project where we face Risks and Challenges.
1) Challenges to fulfilling Kickstarter reward commitments.
2) Challenges to establishing a business that will make these traps publicly available at an affordable price, the reason for this campaign.

If the Kickstarter campaign is successfully funded the challenges to delivering rewards are minimal. But they do exist.
What are they?
Below are the key elements to be completed for general household use, the risks and our risk assessment.
--The housings need to be mass produced so that final assembly is economical.
Risk - The injection molding company is not able to implement the design requirements, the final costs are more than expected, or there are unanticipated problems in manufacturing.

-- Software development work needs to be done to refine the the process for the mousetrap owner to enter and change email address, WiFi log-in info and the mail message. It works now, but is not simple to use.
Risk - The software improvements could prove more challenging and therefor more costly that expected.

-- Component parts must be purchased in large volumes.
Risk -- The orders are not fulfilled accurately, they go missing, the parts are defective or are not delivered on schedule.

-- We need a "motherboard" produced to reduce assembly costs.
Risk - This may cost more or take longer than expected.

--Managing the project through to completion.
Risk - Something unexpected happens to me. While I do have the support and involvement of others on the project, I am a critical link.

The second category of risk and challenge is turning an initial production run and distribution of 1000 to 2000 units into a business that can accomplish the primary objective of making these traps generally available.

Some challenges to an ongoing business.
-- There may not be a sufficient demand for a trap that cost many times the price of a simple lethal trap or mouse poison.
-- We may not be successful in reaching what market there is.
-- The market exposure may be so successful that competitors able to make the product more cheaply flood the market.
-- There are patent disputes and challenges. There are over 4,400 existing patents in North America for mouse traps. While a patent is applied for on this trap, and the trap is unique, this could present future challenges. Ideally once this is manufactured it would be open-source

We have taken what steps we can to increase the likelihood of a successful on-going business.

The overall view of the project is that there may be a very real demand for a humane non-lethal mouse trap at an affordable price. However there does not seem to be a cost effective way to gauge this and Kickstarter may be the most cost effective way to do this. The added benefit is that if there is demand, we can go directly to capitalization and production. The project is not without risks, and while I have over 40 years experience in running successful businesses and projects, I do not have direct experience as a manager in manufacturing or retail sales. However I to have some exposure to both of these disciplines in other professional capacities and feel confident we can succeed.

If you would like to see this product made available to the world and have a little money you can afford to risk, then I will do everything within reason to make it so. Linked-in may be the best place to assess my ability to deliver the project.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $1

    The "I just want to help. " Reward

    It is not really practical to send a physical item for a small contribution, but we will send you a "thank you" email that has a PDF of the "Founding Contributor" artwork.

    Maybe you just want to help bring a more humane mouse trap to the world, or so you can buy one later.

    A contribution at this level will also help greatly in determining the general public demand for a mouse trap that does not kill mice.

    We don't want you to be excluded

    Thanks.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $16

    Help support this project and also share a little kindness.

    You get a "Founding Contributor" sticker that you can stick on your backpack, laptop, bicycle, or whatever.

    You also get a "thank you" email with the PDF of the "Founding Contributor" artwork.

    You don't get a mousetrap, but maybe with your help, you will be able to buy a humane mousetrap when you want one. Unfortunately Kickstarter rules to not allow offering discounts on future items.

    Thank You for helping to make a more humane mouse trap available to the world.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $38

    One NON-email-notification model of the mouse trap. The email notification function is an expensive part of the trap. But this is still a very effective conventional catch-and-release trap if you only use it where you won't forget it. It has a blinking LED and a buzzer on it that signals a mouse capture.

    --You get one NON-email trap
    -- a "Founding Contributor" sticker,
    -- the "Founding Contributor" PDF.
    And of course our appreciation for your help.

    The trap in this reward
    DOES NOT HAVE EMAIL CAPABILITY.

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    Limited 0 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 65 or more About $49

    One Mouse Minder mouse trap With Email notification.
    You get a $45.00 item (target retail price) for $65.00! What a deal!
    Yes, you are paying more than the target retail value, but you are helping.

    But you also get
    - one "Founding Contributor" sticker
    -- and the PDF via email.

    If you want to help more, you can contribute more, but still choose this reward.

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    Limited 7 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 125 or more About $95

    You get TWO Mouse Minder mousetraps, with Email notification.
    You get two $45 (target retail price) traps, a $90 dollar value for only $125.00!
    Yes you are paying more than the target retail value, but you are helping.

    You also get
    -- 5 "Founding Contributor" stickers,
    -- and the "Founding Contributor" PDF artwork.

    Your contribution will help a lot to bringing a more humane mouse trap to the world.

    If you want to help more, you can contribute more, but still choose this reward.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $377

    If you are fortunate financially and would like to support this project with a larger contribution your gesture is greatly appreciated.

    What can we say but "Thanks", you are obviously trying to help make this happen.

    What we will send as a reward is:
    -- FOUR Mouse Minder mousetraps, with Email Notification.

    --Five "Founding Contributor" stickers, and of course the email with the "Founding Contributor" artwork.

    A tremendous "Thank You" from us.
    And most importantly;

    A printed and framed official thank you letter from the
    International House-and-Field Mouse Benevolent Association* expressing their sincere thanks for your efforts to give mice another chance.

    *a completely imaginary organization

    If you can help with a $500 or more contribution for a very limited material reward, we are grateful.

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Funding period

- (30 days)