RFID backpacks for bees?!

Tech giant Intel, is working with CSIRO to discover reasons on the widespread disappearance of millions of bees in Australia. 

They are doing this by installing trackable RFID tags on their backs. 

This study is important because approximately 33% of all human food sources are pollinated by honey bees - meaning a continuing disappearance may change the way humans eat in the future. 

Intel has made its Edison wearables computing platform available to track the movements of the honey bees which are able to monitor the environments that the bees find themselves in. They'll then be able to use this data to make large scale decisions on why bees decide to migrate. 

"We're now able to make an appropriate level of capacity at an appropriate cost to actually take our transistors into places beyond the PC and servers that we're typically used to dealing with," said David Mellers, enterprise sales director for Intel ANZ.

The RFID tag itself is a masterpiece, a tiny 2.5x2.5x0.4mm in size, and weighing less than 5.4mg - the tags are super glued to the back of the honey bees. 

The tags will allow researchers to look at many differing factors including stress levels in accordance to diseases, pollution in the air, water contamination, as well as extreme weather - to see analyse the bees ability to pollinate. 

"The sensors, working in partnership with Intel software, operate in a similar way to an aeroplane's black box flight recorder in that they provide us with vital information about what stress factors impact bee health."




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