The Buzz About Beehives

AustSTEM regularly sponsors 3rd year Electrical Engineering student projects at the University of Wollongong.  The students get to work on some real-life educational projects while being mentored by AustSTEM.  AustSTEM benefits from their great ideas, their enthusiasm, and of course the educationally valuable material they create.

Covid lockdowns during 2021 made the projects especially difficult.  Students could not be on campus and could not work together nor interact in-person with AustSTEM.  All the interactions had to be remote.

In this post we share the results of one of the students’ projects – the HiveLink project.

The project brief was to design and build a system to remotely monitor beehives.  The monitored information includes hive weight (that is the amount of honey in the hive), the ambient and internal temperature and humidity, the air pressure, the carbon dioxide level inside the hive, and uniquely, the key characteristics of sound made by bees inside the hive.  The students did very well to produce the prototype system shown in the video.  Congratulations to this team.

The prototype was not able to be tested with bees because of the difficulties that 2021 presented.  So AustSTEM will need to validate the system in the field using real beehives, and to refine before it can be used in mainstream educational settings.  We’ll be doing the necessary work over the course of the next few months.



This project followed on from an earlier project by another team of students during 2020, also sponsored and mentored by AustSTEM.  The video below was produced by that earlier team, named Hexacomm, and highlights a slightly different approach to the beehive monitoring problem.

We know both teams benefitted educationally from their projects in all aspects of electronics, software and of course knowledge of bees and bee-keeping.

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