Utah State Beekeeper Introduces AI to the Hive
Tom Spendlove posted on June 18, 2019 |

Vladimir Kulykin is a computer engineer from Utah State University who spends a lot of his time as a beekeeper. In 2017 he developed the BeePi system for monitoring beehives and worked to share the data with the world. Kulykin says that loss for beekeepers is averaging 25% to 50% each year, and that beekeepers are constantly fighting issues of equipment cost, bee packages, maintenance and transportation. His theory is that autonomous hive monitors can build a database that can help the beekeeping community without disrupting hives with invasive inspections, and allow large scale keepers to monitor their hives remotely. Vladimir is back with a the second phase of his project called BeePi: Honeybees Meet AI: Stage 2, and running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the new initiative.

Stage 2 of the project has a great vision – Kulykin wants to transform the hives into “immobile robots” that use AI monitoring to safeguard the health of his bee colonies. The project will build five more monitors, create an omnidirectional bee traffic algorithm, and incorporate multiple sensors. The campaign presents the idea that the best monitoring systems will likely need multiple sensors to more closely resemble the decisions that a human beekeeper would make. The chemoreceptor sensors are the main new sensors planned for integration in this phase. Sensor data is being collected and then checked against data from human beekeepers to find correlations and deviations. The last part of Phase 2 will be sharing the terrabytes of data that will be collected over the coming years. Kulykin says that the data needs to be analyzed, and eventually replicated, by multiple sources to become a great citizen scientist project. He says beekeeping is local and the open source commitment to both hardware and software means that beekeepers at any location can use the principles from BeePi to build their own monitors and databases.

Shrinking bee populations are one of the many issues that sustainability conscious engineers are fighting, and it’s comforting to know that Vladimir Kulykin is working to create usable data sets for current and future generations of beekeeper. The campaign has not yet met its goal and ends on August 7, 2019.






















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