A group of students from UCC have created a ‘smart beehive’ for the Smarter Planet Challenge, to track exactly what is happening inside the bee hives in an attempt to halt their worrying decline.

The monitoring system was developed to aid bees in their fundamental role in maintaining food supplies, as they are considered to be the most important pollinator in food production.

However, colony numbers are in a dramatic widespread decline in many places, as a result of factors like the exponential growth of human population and unprecedented climate change. The pilot system runs on solar panels, allowing it to be energy neutral and completely autonomous, so it can be monitored at all times irrespective of conditions.

It uses sensors, connnected via a wireless network to the cloud, to gather and then analyse variables like temperature, humidity, oxygen, CO2, dust, and pollutants inside the hive.

The invention could be a ground-breaking step towards the realigning of resource preservation  across the world, and speaks volume about the innovation of the Irish students that its the second success UCC students have had in the competition in three years.

The project is dubbed “2B or not 2B” (they might want to change that), will now be developed further in an attempt to make it available for wide release.