Make:cast – Machine Learning for Beekeepers

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Make:cast – Machine Learning for Beekeepers

You can learn a lot about the health of a hive by listening to the sounds that bees make, as a beekeeper would do. The developers of the LongHive project, featured in Make Magazine Vol 75, tell us about their efforts to use machine learning to detect the presence of the queen bee by recording the sounds of the bees in the hive.The developers are Evan Diewald, a PhD student in Advanced Manufacturing at Carnegie Mellon; Antonio Scala, a computer science and math major at Villanova; and Nathan Prihala, a finance major at university of Pittsburgh. Nathan knew beekeepers and saw the problems they were having with their hives.


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The LongHive project uses Raspberry Pi running a version of TensorFlowLite, a LoRaWan microcontroller, which is designed for long-range low data transfer, and communicates via the Helium Network. Here’s a diagram of the LongHive system.

Diagram of LongHive System

The LongHive Project was entered into developed as an entry into the Hackster “IoT for Good” competition and it won the Grand Prize. Get the code, build files and even more details at

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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