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BeeBIT was registered as a non-profit association and is now called "BeeBIT e.V." (the addendum "e.V." is the German abbreviation for registered association). By establishing the association we hope to simplify and merge the structure of our project, so that working with us together trustfully on a regional as well as on an international level becomes more easier and concrete – both for our partner schools as well as for external institutions, companies and educational facilities. The association's scope of duties herein will be of an organizational character, particularly with regard to communication, project organization and public relations.
From the 1st November to the 4th November, the project partners from all over Europe came to Würzburg for a meeting with the BeeBIT team. We mainly discussed the status and further planning of the entire BeeBIT project. They also recieved an introduction to the BeeBIT homepage and translated the diagram in their mother tongues, so we got six available languages by now (German, English, Italian, Swedish, Slovenian and Croatian, more to follow).
In the course of the so called "Land der Ideen" contest, our project was decorated with a prize. The contest was founded by the past German government and is yearly assigned to innovative and creative ideas from around the country. On October 21st the award was submitted at Friedrich-Koenig-Gymnasium in the context of a colloquium of natural sciences. On November 11th Christoph Bauer (FKG) and Arnold Weibel (DHG) represented BeeBIT e.V. at the awardee meeting in Berlin.
On the 2nd November, the German TV broadcaster of the federal country Bavaria, the Bayerische Rundfunk, came to us to shoot a short report about our project. They interviewed our software engineer, David Schneller, a member of our association board, Christoph Bauer, and a student of the FKG grammar school. Unfortunately, the report is currently no longer available.
On the 13th and 14th of November the German headmaster congress for participating MINT-EC (Excellence schools in STEM subjects) schools took place at the Friedrich-Koenig-Gymnasium. Martin Otersen (DHG) and Christoph Bauer (FKG) held a workshop about the BeeBIT project and informed about the eHive, especially about how to get involved in the project. Both options, purchasing an eHive or alternatively securing access to the collected data and provided materials by acquiring membership in our network were mentioned and explained.
Thanks to Schneider Electric, a global player in matters of electronic components with around 170.000 employees worldwide, BeeBIT e.V. can benefit of the support from a gifted and well-versed partner. Schneider Electric is involved in producing the eHive's new, improved and finally working circuit board. This board is planned to be finished at the beginning of January, which means we are able to ship the missing modules until the end of January to our European partners. In February all delivered eHives should be able to connect to the network and provide real-time data. At the moment this is our very first priority.
Besides that, Schneider Electric also offered us support on developing and producing better technical solutions for the eHive. Consequently, in the background we are beginning to work on enlarging the network and think about how to benefit from the offered possibilities.
Furthermore, we initiated a partnership with the LMU Munich, who will take over the duties of the University of Würzburg. This includes the creation of teaching materials and the scientific monitoring of didactics-related tasks. There will also be possibilities for final theses using our data. We would like to thank Dr. Monika Aufleger from the Institute of Biology Education.
We also want to thank the Umweltstation Würzburg, the conversation agency of Würzburg. Since the very beginning of our project, they supported us with knowhow and tools regarding beekeeping. Besides, two of our eHives are located on their site.
The BeeBIT project emerged from a so called “Projekt-Seminar” at the Deutschhaus-Gymnasium more than two years ago. This autumn another seminar started which is thematically related. Its purpose is to support and enlarge our team. Until next spring their most talented programmers are working on a multilingual administration system for education materials. Additionally, the group produces a corporate video about the project featuring a 3d-model of the eHive and its important parts.
(cw, ds, cb, jh) 2015-11-28
With this article, we want to give you an overview of the project, its possibilities in education and research and the current progress of development.
In the past decade a huge amount of bee colonies collapsed, currently about 40% per year. Scientists have good reasons to fear this development as the honey bee is one of the most important useful animals of our agricultural system. But currently we understand only a small fraction of the bee’s biology and behavior which results in a lack of projects to fight death of bee colonies. With our BeeBIT eHives, we want to establish a tool for professional bee research as well as motivate pupils to engage in bee research.
The root of the BeeBIT Project is the HOBOS Project of the University of Würzburg. The HOBOS System is a special bee hive, monitored by high-tech sensors whose data is published on the Internet. But it is only a single Hive, placed in a narrowly defined geographic and environmental setting. Its data is barely transferable to other colonies in other regions of the world. This is the basic idea of the eHive: A relatively inexpensive system for monitoring bee colonies which can easily be bought and set up by schools and other educational institutions.
Every eHive contains a set of probes: 6 Temperature sensors and a humidity sensor monitor the micro climate of the bee hive. A scale underneath the hive makes it possible to draw conclusions on the colony’s honey yield. A proprietary sensor for measuring bee approaches and departures shows the activity of the hive. An industry-standard weather station delivers highly accurate environment data – all those parameters are recorded every minute and can be sent to the server in real-time.
The BeeBIT project is funded by the Erasmus-Plus-Program of the European Union to create teaching materials based on the eHive’s data. This enables the pupils to work with real, close to reality examples, no matter if in Biology, Math or Computer Science lesson. A sample lesson is available on our homepage. The lessons created during the Erasmus-Plus-Project will be available for free on our homepage. If you created lessons based on our data and want to share it with other schools, feel free to contact us!
Of course, custom projects led by pupils are also possible, which can promote bicultural understanding as pupils can work together across borders.
As all the eHives are constructed in the same way, the project enables scientists not only to monitor a single colony, but plenty of colonies in totally different regions. Consequently, we collect comparable data that may help to understand the life and death of bees. For example, a colony collapse disorder event was never recorded by sensors – by monitoring several colonies, we may be able to produce such valuable data.