2011 finalists & winners > 13 to 14 years > MouseNet
A self-confessed greenie, William invented MouseNet, a system of traps that self-report to a central base station when they are triggered, saving conservation workers a lot of time and money.
"We have a large network of traps on our property and it is my job to check and clear them. Only about 10% of the traps have mice in them and I was sick of checking empty mouse traps. Because I am a bit of a 'greenie' I was aware that conservation workers share this problem, but on a much bigger scale. I decided to invent a system of traps that self-report to a central base station when they are triggered. This means that instead of having to walk round and check every trap, you can just read the LCD on the base station and go to clear and reset the traps that have caught an animal.
I have solved a real problem and can use my trapping network around our land. Checking our traps now takes me much less time. I have also solved a problem for conservation workers as there are approximately 107,000 mouse traps that are checked and cleared regularly in fenced predator free areas in NZ. MouseNet can save conservation lots of time and money.
The most difficult aspect of my project was the extensive testing to check the robustness of my ideas, and accommodating all the variables in the system. Another difficult area was making my units generic so they could be retro-fitted to any Victor mouse trap. This was difficult as each trap has quite large engineering tolerances that I had to design around.
In my free time I like designing electronics! I also like making crazy inventions such as air or water powered rockets. I like cycling, reading, and jujuitsu.
I have been a Bright Sparks member since December 2009. The best thing about the Hub is being able to get help from other members and being able to help others when I have knowledge or experience.
Tertiary study is still a long way off, as I will only start high school in January. But, I would like to be an electronics design engineer, and I guess I will need a degree in electronics. I have not yet thought about where I might study.
In terms of mentors and role models, my dad, Uig, is great as he is always fun to bounce ideas with, they often get crazier and crazier between us. Also he helps me straighten out my thinking when I have a difficult problem to solve.
If I could invent anything at all I would design wireless electricity."