Big Data solutions based on data from wearable devices are not just limited to humans. The technology has become so small and cost-effective that researchers in Australia have been using sensors to study honeybees. Bees are essential to the success of many of our agricultural crops, but Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has been causing huge losses of bees worldwide. To study bee behavior and prepare to combat CCD, researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia have equipped thousands of bees on the island of Tasmania with tiny sensors.
These RFID chips measure about 2.5 mm square, and provides a unique marker that can be detected wirelessly whenever the bee passes a detector. As a result, researchers can monitor where individual bees go. They can also monitor changes due to the use of different pesticides in different areas, or the impact of weather patterns on bee behavior and populations.
The researchers hope to shrink the tags to just 1 mm square, with the goal of using them to monitor other insect populations, such as mosquitoes and fruit flies.