Scare unwanted animals away with the Goose Guardian.

Goose Guardian is a wildlife deterrent that utilizes a patent-pending image-based object recognition system to detect the presence of specific species and triggers a hazing device to scare the animals away.  Applications in development for the object recognition system include a deer/elk detector for highway traffic safety and a bed exit detector to reduce the risk of patient falls resulting in injury.

Goose Guardian is one of the featured exhibitors at the DaVinci Inventor Showcase, which takes place on Oct 13, 2012 at the Denver Merchandise Mart. This is your chance to check out the Goose Guardian and a wild variety of other amazing innovations!
Recently, inventor Neil McClure took a moment to answer some questions about  wildlife deterrents, device triggers and image analysis algorithms…

1. What was the defining moment that led you to create this product? What problem does it solve?

I live in an area that is infected with geese and would constantly need to clean up their droppings so that my yard would be useable. I fashioned a device from spare parts in my garage to scare the geese away from certain areas of the yard and it worked great! The problem was that the device would trigger for any movement, including people, and it was very annoying. I solved this problem by developing an image sensor system that can be trained for specific objects or events and only trigger when the object is present or the event occurs. The first commercial application is a Canada goose deterrent and we have another model trained for wild turkeys. We have filed two SBIRs, one for a deer detector for highway traffic safety and the other for a bed exit detector to detect when patient attempt to get out of bed. The specific problem solved is the development of a low cost, configurable detector system that has a high degree of specificity for a multitude of applications.

2. After you came up with the idea, how did you size up the market and decide who your customers would be?

With a multitude of applications available for the sensor system, we had to pick one to establish a market presence. Since there was no effective “demand-performance” wildlife deterrent capability in existence, we entered this market space without competition and started with geese as their nuisance issue is nationwide. Market sizing was based on estimated resident geese populations, migratory populations and the number of parks, golf courses, other municipal and Home Owner Association landscaped areas.

3. How did you go about naming your product?

We looked at existing product names for wildlife deterrents, did some brainstorming and picked a name that rolled off the tongue – and whose URL was still available!

4. How long did it take you to create you initial prototype, and what problems did you run into along the way?

Once we had characterized the processing requirements for the image analysis algorithms, the prototype unit took about 3 months to create. Getting to this point took about a year and half for part-time work however. The biggest unforeseen problem was the cycle time required to test any changes to the hardware and software, as it required the geese to cooperate!

5. Funding a new idea is always tricky. How did you go about lining up the money you needed?

I was able fund the initial proof of concept algorithm development that was aided by 2 university senior projects. With a demonstrated proof of concept and a reputation from a prior successful startup, I was able to raise the initial capital from friends.

6. Is this a product you’d like to produce and sell yourself, or are you wanting to license it to someone else? And if so, who?

The strategic objective of the company is to produce and sell the product ourselves, build value and then spin off the wildlife deterrent business and sell it with a license to practice the intellectual property. The company will continue to pursue other applications for its image sensor system.

7. What all channels are you using to market your product?

We currently focused on direct sales through our website. We have been approached by regional entities who are interested in becoming a re-seller once the product is proven.

8. How many people do you currently have involved in your business?

One full-time employee and 8 active contractors representing all necessary professional disciplines.

9. How do you define success? What would hitting a “home run” look like in your mind?

Success is an exit strategy that brings an excellent return for our investors. This means the product is successful, has a market presence and a satisfied customer base with growing sales revenue. A home run would be an exit strategy with an excellent return and no royalty or earn out component.

10. Where do people go to find out more about your product?