Foldscope & The Dream of Easy Pollen Identification



It would be wonderful to identify pollen in honey and from pollen gathered by bees.  You can do that with a 400x-1000x microscope for a couple of hundred dollars and some training in staining techniques. So when I heard about Foldscope – an origami microscope that fits in your pocket and costs less than 2 bucks – I was excited about the prospect of beekeepers identifying pollen in the field.

Foldscope originated out of the department of bioengineering at Stanford University. The Prakash Lab designed a low cost paper microscope that more closely resembles the original Leeuwenhoek microscope than the familiar tubular compound microscopes today.

One goal of foldscope is to provide a microscope to healthcare workers in poor countries to diagnose disease. The Prakash Lab received grants from several foundations to hand out thousands of foldscopes.  I was one among thousands of beta testers from 130 different countries to request a foldscope (the beta phase is now closed) and it arrived in an envelope several weeks later. Continue reading Foldscope & The Dream of Easy Pollen Identification

$22 Bee Vacuum

We were recently gifted a hive from a family whose beekeeper son left for college. Having moved hives before, I figured it would be easy.  This time I was wrong:

Bees bearded up the front and back of the hive – all day long and at 5:30AM in the morning – because the bottom . . . → Read More: $22 Bee Vacuum

Monitoring Honey Bee Colonies Electronically

I recently got an email from Frank Linton. Frank works at Mitre Corp and has been interested in hive monitoring for a long time. Last year, he organized the first workshop on hive monitoring at Eastern Apicultural Society’s annual conference in Vermont.  I’ll let Frank speak for himself – the following is an excerpt . . . → Read More: Monitoring Honey Bee Colonies Electronically

Harvard’s RoboBee Project



You may remember about one year ago, I posted a video of robotic flying  multicopters building a structure. I was so intrigued that I have built my own robotic quadcopter based on the Arducopter design with the intent of engineering a true autonomous swarm.  But more on that at a future date.  Here is RoboBees (click here) – a research project at Harvard seeking to develop mechanical structures that fly – inspired by bees and enabled by microelectronic fabrication technology. The mechanical device shown is the size of a penny but the MEMS technology could be used to build something  much smaller. The video below shows the result of the manufacturing process but they also have videos of this thing flying and are working on an optical sensor and swarm behaviors.

Video after the jump… Continue reading Harvard’s RoboBee Project

Dear NPR: Please do not criminalize hackers

This is in response to Robert Siegel’s June 20th feature “Going After ‘Hackavists’”.

I am one of those people who likes to “tinker or modify hardware or software”. I “support free speech”, and I am grateful for the transparency that WikiLeaks provided – the details of which NPR enthusiastically reported. I enjoy “entertainment” and I fear that the weak link in our nation’s security is our cyber security.

According to your interview on June 20th with Hugh Thompson, I must be a hacker. Continue reading Dear NPR: Please do not criminalize hackers

Robotic Bees

Students at the GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception) Lab at the University of Pennsylvania have succeeded in training flying helicopters to assemble simple structures. These flying robots buzz like bees, they collaborate like bees, and the structures that they build are regular and defined largely by physical constraints than some innate construction knowledge. These bee-copters may be dumb compared to the intellect of 30,000 grass seed sized bee brains but the video is pretty impressive anyway.

Video after the jump… Continue reading Robotic Bees

Hacker Julian Assange: White Hat or Black Hat?

Julian Assange

There is no doubt that Julian Assange, creator and Editor-In-Chief of WikiLeaks, is a hacker. That he hacked into Department of Defense computers in his twenties is not up for debate. But the question I ask is in regard to his actions in the last 15 years: is Wikileaks a force for good or bad? As the primary force behind WikiLeaks, is Julian Assange acting today as a good hacker or a bad hacker? And if his actions are damaging, who has the most to lose? Continue reading Hacker Julian Assange: White Hat or Black Hat?

Welcome To BeeHacker.Com

This site explores the confluence of beekeeping and technology. It is targeted at the amateur and professional:

  • beekeeper or bee lover
  • scientist, engineer, inventor, DIYer

The primary goal is to develop new, Open Source technologies that can benefit the honey bee and everyone else that benefits from the honey bee. Continue reading Welcome To BeeHacker.Com

Beekeepers and Hackers – Separated at Birth?

Altair 8800 Computer

There are so many similarities between ethical hackers and beekeepers that I figured they must have been separated at birth. Consider this: Continue reading Beekeepers and Hackers – Separated at Birth?

Mosquito Zappers & Bee Trackers



Nathan Myhrvold was Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer until 1999. By the time he left Microsoft, he could afford to do whatever he wanted. He chose the life of a wealthy virtuous hacker. Sort of an aging Dexter. Yes, I am jealous.

Continue reading Mosquito Zappers & Bee Trackers