Can smart sensors and citizen science save bees?
The plight of bees is no small matter. These important pollinators are facing myriad problems ranging from car exhaust to a witch's brew of pesticides and fungicides, all threatening to push bees to extinction. It's a terrifying thought because if bees go, we go. We starve without bees to pollinate crops. Can technology come to the rescue and help us monitor and perhaps save these insects?
Open Source Beehives certainly isn't the first project to look to technology to help bees. Ambitious beekeepers as well as scientists have used everything from hive sensors to radio tags to study bees and their plight. But it is one of the first groups we've heard of that is using open source hardware, software, and community-collected data to understand what is going on with bees. By looking at data worldwide, we can know what's happening with these pollinators and implement solutions to bring bees back from the edge of oblivion.
From Open Source Beehives:
The project proposes to design hives that can support bee colonies in a sustainable way, to monitor and track the health and behaviour of a colony as it develops. Each hive contains an open source sensory kit, The Smart Citizen Kit (SCK), which can transmit to an open data platform: Smartcitizen.me. These sensor enhanced hive designs are open and freely available online, the data collected from each hive is published together with geolocations allowing for a further comparison and analysis of the hives.
Here's a video detailing more about the hardware and software of the project:
So if you're a bee keeper or simply a fan of bees (or food) check out the project and take part.