The Walls Have Eyes, and the Windows Have Ears

A friend of mine, who is a engineering graduate from UBC, loves to tinker around with toys, making them better through augmentation, and improving their usefulness.  Of course, he wishes to remain anonymous, and his location kept secret, only becuase he is socially reclusive. Some of his “creations” are anything but short of amazing. He introduced me to his latest project, “The Rat Trap,” security system. It is not what you think. The intruders are not human, but beer-bottle size rodents who chew and deficate throughout walls of my friend’s house. He had a serious infestation that he just recently brought under control.

Eyes Everywhere - Weblog Image

When he showed me the security room, I was in awe at how many cameras and listening devices he had installed. All but four cameras were installed on the interior of the house. The rest of the cameras were mounted inside the walls and crawl spaces, and were mostly inferred video types. In all, there are twenty-four cameras wired throughout his house: basement, attic, walls and carport. The laundry room is where the heaviest concentration of cameras are mounted becuase that seems to be where these animals like to be the most.

It was the lasers that impressed me the most. Mounted inside each room, pointed at each window, a sensor picks up the reflected light from the glass and translates it into sound. Whenever a specific sound is detected, that information is recorded onto a computer that holds the video feeds, and is synced up to a corresponding camera to that zone that records the event.

Why all the tech. to catch a rat?

I asked him why not just use the lasers to zap the rats, and set traps all over the place? The answer came into two parts. First, when him and his wife moved into the house (three years ago), they knew that were rats inside of it. He renovated the exterior of the structure, hoping to cover up any entrances that the rats were using. This failed, not even detouring the rat’s movements. So he wanted to know how they were getting inside the house, and how they were moving about. Secondly, at the same time as the renovations were taking place, his wife used poison, but this only left dead rat bodies in very hard to reach places of the house’s walls and crawl spaces. You can imagine the smell. *puke*

It was not long after he installed the security system that he found that the rats had tunnels leading into the basement walls, and along the foundation of the house. At a cost of almost $9,000 dollars, he hired a backhoe to dig up the soil along the foundation around the house to repair and patch these holes. What they found buried under the dirt was astounding. Not even half a metre below the ground was garbage: body parts from old cars, kitchen appliances, bits of clothing, tin cans, building material waste. The rats had a complete ready made network of subterranean tunnels ready made for them to reach the house. The original occupants who built the farm house probably had no idea what they did wrong, thinking more about saving money rather than about the future cost of not handling their waste responsibly.

Still today, nearly a month after the waste was taken away, and the dirt filled in, some rats still enter the house and scurry around inside the walls. His war with the rats is not over yet as video and sound detectors still captures their movements.

Could you live in a house knowing that rats are living in the walls?

3 Thoughts on “The Walls Have Eyes, and the Windows Have Ears

  1. Hi Tom,

    How about a cat or two?

  2. I asked that too. His wife is allergic.

  3. What an interesting idea. My cat is only good for mousing. He won’t go near rats for some reason. Maybe, I need something like this in my house. No. Maybe not. My Land lord won’t pay for this.

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