Beeutiful Tracking Systems

We constructed an IoT and analytics device that tracks the health of a beehive.
Context

Beeutiful Tracking Systems is a hackathon project I developed during ShellHacks 2017.

ShellHacks 2017 is a 36-hour hackathon at Florida International University (FIU), which took place the weekend of Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1st.

Their mission is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about new technologies, create innovative projects, and share their work with the community!

Inspiration

Our hackathon theme focused on environmentalism. I have a sister that works as a beekeeper. Prior to this hackathon, I had researched ways to help her keep track of the relative health of her beehives.

I realized the most common method of monitoring a beehives’ health, eyeball estimation of activity levels found outside a hive, was not an effective method due to human error (especially for beginner beekeepers).

There were very few products for sale that attempted to rectify this issue. All products were too expensive to be a reasonable solution for a professional beekeeper with multiple hives. Likewise, the cost would not be worthwhile for those who beekeep as a hobby.

My team felt we could develop a cheaper solution with a more tech-friendly user interface that would appeal to a larger market of beekeepers.

What Beeutiful Does

We have constructed a Beehive monitoring system that logs and tracks the fluctuating population of forager bees within a beehive. Forager bees perform important out-colony tasks like pollen collection, which plays a crucial role in honey production. Having a consistent number, or growing number, of forager bees is one indicator of a healthy hive.

Currently, beekeepers resort to counting the amount of forager bees through eyeball estimation of activity levels found outside a hive. This is an inefficient method because one a declining hive is noticeable, it is usually too late to save it.

Beekeepers tend to be frugal when it comes to purchasing supplies for their bees. A beekeeper usually has numerous amounts of hives under their care, so requiring them to purchase supplies for each one significantly increases their costs.

Our team wanted to develop a solution that functions as an efficient monitoring system, includes a friendly user interface, and is cheap enough to duplicate on a larger scale. Having the possibility of a higher acceptance rate among the beekeeping community and halting the ongoing decline bees around the world was a welcomed consequence our project could produce upon further development.

Analytics is vital for beekeepers of all levels. Our system ties together several forms of analytics, such as bee counting, temperature tracking, and data interpretation. Beeutiful allows the beekeeper to do what he or she loves – caring for bees, rather than tediously tracking data and trying to make sense of it. We accomplished our proof of concept showing our solution maintains the potential for future expandability in a user-friendly manner while maintaining the initial low costs for beekeepers.

How We Built It

We used a DragonBoard 410c and uploaded Arduino scripts to it. The DragonBoard has one infrared sensor and one photoresistor sensor connected to it.

These sensors collect data, which then streams through a queuing service ( RabbitMQ ), and is then handled through Socket io.

Awards

ShellHacks 2017 Hackathon Winner

🏆 Best IoT Hack Using a Qualcomm Device

🏆 Torkoal’s Favorite ( Environmentalism award )