According to BuzzBox’s Kickstarter video, 44% of beehives in the U.S. died off in 2016, and they expect this to be as bad, if not worse, again this year. Though honey is an important food in its own right, bees’ ability to help with the plant pollination process is critical to our food supply. In order to study the causes of this decrease in bee population, the fully autonomous and solar-powered BuzzBox sensor system is designed to measure environmental conditions within the beehive, including temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure.
What’s most exciting, however, is that BuzzBox’s hardware can listen to noise from inside the beehive using a built-in microphone, and an algorithm can then pick out several issues based on these audio recordings.
Results of data collection are transmitted via Wi-Fi (thanks to a Particle Photon board), and can be viewed remotely on your smartphone in real-time, potentially allowing you to intervene before issues become worse. This info will be available for researchers and citizen scientists, and the devices are updated over-the-air, meaning the system can become better and better over time.