Hivemind is a wifi-enabled 'Fitbit for bees', helping smaller scale or personal apiaries remotely keep track of hive health at lower costs than commercial satellite monitoring.
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Bees are a crucial asset to global ecosystems, helping pollinate myriad plant species, and their decline has researchers everywhere concerned, so much so that we’ve seen projects that involve robot bees to help maintain pollination. One way to help bee populations recover is the uptake of personal apiaries, such as a printable back-yard hives, and now New Zealand-based Hivemind are aiming to help beekeepers monitor their precious bees.
Hivemind has developed technologies to assist with commercial beekeeping that involve satellite communication for remote data gathering, an expensive pursuit for smaller scale apiaries or amateur enthusiasts. Their latest innovation will see more affordable wifi-enabled monitoring technology that allows beekeepers to access data on their hive, with the goal of also having this accessible via a smart device. Describing its data collection and storage as offering Fitbit-like resources for monitoring the hive’s health, Hivemind’s hardware slots easily into the hive, whereby various sensors detect and record brood temperature, ambient temperature and average bee numbers over the day (which are tracked via an infrared sensor as they fly in and out of the hive). The presence of wifi on the device relays all the data to the user’s smart device, where a user-friendly dashboard gives the option of setting how frequently data is recorded, and allows users to look at long or short term patterns to assess hive health. Hivemind are currently crowdfunding via Indiegogo with the aim of a late 2017 release.
In an age of big data, how else can the growth of citizen scientists be encouraged by innovations like those of Hivemind?
Image source: Pixabay