|Not all of the better mousetraps met the test, with the subjects occasionally escaping.|
The mice were introduced to the various traps, most of which were constructed of basswood, screening and plexiglass. Whether thumbtacks, metal hinges, razor blades and Hersheys chocolate were available in da Vincis time was not established, but those materials as well as cheese and magnets were used by the various teams.
|Mice became project testers this fall when students in Shaun Jacksons design class were challenged to make a better mousetrap using only the technology available to da Vinci. Photos by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services|
As the mice climbed over, sat on, ran under and hid inside inventions that sported names such as K-A-T and Crystal Palace, the students soon learned that a consumer often wants to use a product the way he wants to use it, which may not be the way the designer wants him to use it.
This generation seems to have little interest in machines, says Jackson. They are more interested in information. But when they discover the workings of machines, it becomes magical for them.
And so the cheers and shrieks and boos and applause accompanied each mouse as it explored the facets of a trap that may or may not have been better but was certainly humane.