Development of a Wearable Energy Harvesting Powered Device for Monitoring Honey Bee Movement

A novel approach for real-time monitoring of honey bees across their natural habitat is presented herein. Understanding animal movement and behavior in response to environmental stimulation is fundamental to basic and applied ecology. Current battery powered approaches to track bees are spatially limited, expensive and can negatively impact their foraging behavior due to the devices large size and weight. A wearable device which scavenges energy from bee’s mechanical vibrations to power the transmission of a bee’s location data while ensuring minimal physical hindrance is presented. A piezoelectric energy harvester is proposed to provide an electrical energy source while pursuing aggressive device miniaturization and weight reduction. The location of honey bees is determined by implementing a compact and low weight scanning system that can be used with a stationary receiver or coupled to a movable receiver for tracking across the entire foraging range. For a moveable tracking system, a method of integrating the receiver to an unmanned aerial vehicle is proposed. An algorithm is developed capable of detecting honey bee location based on a received signal strength indicator (RSSI) approach and is used to maintain close proximity between transmitter and receiver. A RF detector, steerable microstrip antenna array and a microcontroller are combined and synchronized for the purpose of angle of arrival estimation to determine the honey bee location. The system will require minimal maintenance once installed, whilst providing researchers and bee keepers with an easy to use data stream of bee location. Design techniques, parameter analysis, prototype fabrication and current results for the power circuitry, transmitter and receiver are to be discussed.