A Solihull-based entrepreneur has combined his passions for nature and technology to create what is claimed to be a world first.
Peter Bubb, who has spent over 20 years in the IT industry, tapped into support from Mustard.uk.com to exploit a gap in the market, creating a nesting box which allows 'twitchers' to watch wild birds close-up through the use of a wireless web cam.
"Having researched the field, it soon emerged that enthusiasts were crying out for a system that allowed you to witness what was going on without disturbing their natural habitat and nesting habits," Mr Bubb said.
"Once I became aware of what these issues were, I paired up with Foneapps and Coventry Information Technologies to investigate ways of developing an effective solution. As a result of this partnership, we have applied for various patents to protect the technology involved."
The result is a revolutionary quick release video pod, which sends signals connecting to a standard TV or PC, removing the need for cable running from the nesting box.
As a result, owners can move the wireless camera about as many times as they want to ensure they find the ideal spot to capture images, and then, use their PCs to share their videos and photos with other enthusiasts.
Mr Bubb said: "The development team also worked hard on the battery life of the device, which can last for a period of months compared to previous batteries that would run out in a matter of hours.
"However, possibly the final and most remarkable innovation is the ability of the device to automatically measure the amount of light in the box and quickly identify whether to add white or infra-red light. This allows people to watch clear colour images throughout daylight hours and black and white night-vision images at other times."
Boosted by £8,500 worth of support from Mustard.uk.com, the local entrepreneur has launched a website-based company called www.enjoybirdsmore.co.uk, which will act as the primary sales channel for the products and a virtual world-wide network for showcasing wild birds.
A number of boxes have already been sold to birdwatchers and the general public, with the next stage set to target wildlife societies and schools, which could use the innovation to help educate children on the pastime of ornithology.
Adding his support, Doug Barrons, Mustard.uk.com client manager at Business Link Birmingham, said: "Enjoy Birds More has all the ingredients of a successful company, having been able to combine significant technological know-how with a unique product.
"With targeted marketing and promotional support from Mustard.uk.com, 2005 looks like being an extremely exciting year."
He added: "The company is already hitting the headlines for its work and, due to its collaboration with Warwick and Staffordshire Universities, has recently been shortlisted for a Lord Stafford Award."
Managed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Mustard.uk.com has provided high-growth start-up and business services to over 1,800 enterprises across the West Midlands.
Supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, the European Regional Development Fund and Advantage West Midlands, Mustard.uk.com is managed in the local areas by dedicated client managers from the region's Business Links.