|Above: The three component set up.|
Background: This has been a major project for our students during the course of the last ten weeks of school. The students have been entering a regional/national competition that is based around innovation and creativity. The competition was for Y5-8 students and our students were able to enter the Wanganui/Taranaki finals as a starting point with the opportunity to make the national finals. The entry of the students in this competition came as a result of work of our students over a significant project in the last year. The challenge for the students was how we could use technology to assist the removal of pests in New Zealand.
|Above: The base set up.|
Traditionally they have been trapped by using traditional manual traps.
The challenge for our students was to use technology to assist in the trapping of these animals. Our students spent considerable time completing background research and looking into the process. There are currently no available versions of this kind of lure, although they are currently in development. We spent considerable time looking at opportunities to develop the technology associated with this process (further considerable detailed information on this process is available on request contact the teacher concerned here at this blog if you wish).
There are three separate 3D Printed parts of the set up for this project. The first is the base, as is shown by the purple print. This is a set up involving a breadboard, which features an MP3 player and a picaxe to control it, including in the circuit a light sensor and jumper leads to power the set up.
This part of the unit has been featured on this blog in previous posts and can be located here. The idea is the 3D Printer can custom make the sound lure and the base design can be altered as appropriate. The chip can play sounds which are stored on a micro-SD card (up to ten thousand sounds of varying length). The light sensor is able to be coded to allow the speaker to operate at pre-determined time, as a value can be entered to measure the level of light and then switch on as appropriate. There is an opportunity to target specific times when there is more lightly to be pest activity, have specific lure sounds (for instance there is evidence to strongly suggest that stoats are more likely to target chicks instead of ears as they hear better than they smell).
|Above: Speaker variation with removable lid.|
lipo battery. The size of the featured solar panel was 70mm by 110mm. It had a height of 10mm. This allowed it to be water proofed. There are variations of the solar panel in sizes, so the 3D Printer is ideal to adapt to the different sizes as the unit is produced. There is not expected to be the same level of variation with the micro-chip box, although as we are experimenting with different sized speakers so again the flexibility of the 3D Printer is ideal to create the opportunity to customize.
Next steps for the students: The students won the regional competition and have qualified for the National New Zealand finals in December. The students need to produce a number of the units and test them in the field to prove thier work. Every indication is that the set up will have an impact on the ability of the traditonal traps to attract additional animals to the conventional trap. The challenge is on the students to prove this and to modify the sound lures to adapt to slightly different component pieces (such as a different sized solar panels).