An energy-neutral, smart beehive that monitors the lives of honey bees has won UCC students an international competition.
Participants in the IEEE/IBM Smarter Planet Challenge were asked to develop a solution to a grand challenge facing their community and the UCC students beat contestants from around the world to the €5,000 prize.
Solar panels keep UCC’s hive energy-neutral and the project examines the activity of the colony, as well as the impact of carbon dioxide, oxygen, temperature, humidity, chemical pollutants, and dust on the bees.
The data is stored within the beehive, protected both by modern cryptography, and its inhabitants.
“Honey bees are vicious when protecting their hive, including our data,” explained team leader Fiona Edwards Murphy.
It will also enable beekeepers to monitor their hives during night time, heavy rain, and winter.
A video explains the project, and highlights predictions from the EU and UN that, as honey bee colonies decline and pollination suffers, global food supplies and prices will be affected.
Dr Emanuel Popovici, director of the Embedded Systems Group at UCC and co-supervisor of Ms Edwards Murphy’s PhD project, hailed the research as “exceptional”.
Ms Edwards Murphy was joined on the team by fellow electrical and electronic engineering students Liam O’Leary and Killian Troy, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences student Lily Pinson, and School of Biological, Environmental and Earth Sciences student Kathie Hetherington.
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