July 21, 2003 A mousetrap made out of chocolate developed by scientists at the University of Warwick is set to bring a new meaning to 'Death by Chocolate'. The novel invention leads mice into temptation with the irresistible, alluring scent of chocolate essence without the use of bait.
A collaboration of the University of Warwick's Innovation Direct service, a free consultancy service for SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) and Sorex Ltd, a leading manufacturer of rodent control products, from Cheshire, has developed the mousetrap made out of chocolate scented plastic.
A key part of the venture was to test what foods mice are most drawn to. Various essences were put into a cage to attract the rodents, including cheese, vanilla essence and chocolate. In contrast to the popular view that cheese is the mouse's favourite nibble, trials of the mousetrap carried out by Innovation-Direct showed that most mice prefer chocolate.
University of Warwick researchers helped Sorex Ltd with design and technology to develop a chocolate essence enhanced plastic material and to conduct injection-moulding trials. Unlike other traps, chocolate essence is added to the plastic that makes up the mousetrap during production, so is an integral part of the product.
Martina Flynn, Rodent Control Product Manager with Sorex Ltd, said: "The partnership has led to the development of a unique product that is baitless, making it very easy to use in just one step. Innovation-Direct helped us develop this new material and process that could be applied to other rodent control devices. New developments are key to the future of rodent control both in the UK and overseas, and the project shows the importance of research in rodenticide technology to provide forward thinking solutions."
Having just completed trials, the product is now being sold in the hardware and agricultural sectors and there is already interest in the product from other industries.
### Innovation-Direct at the University of Warwick is funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support qualifying companies (SMEs in West Midlands Objective 2 area) by providing, free of charge support and advice on the technological and market place challenges those companies face in developing innovative products.
In the first two and a half years of its operation Innovation-Direct helped over 240 West Midlands SMEs in the identification of new markets, development of new products, improvement of existing products and use of new materials and processes. It has funding to support another 375 companies over the next 3 years. The service can be contacted on 02476 573 169.
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