Snapshot screen of a computer used to acquire signals from 4 microphones (4 blue bars at the left corner of the screen) and 4 thermocouples (channels A-D at the right side of the screen) to measure sound and temperature respectively at 4 different sites along the hive bottom board.
Current research is focused on diagnosing bee colony health conditions by correlating ambient and habitat temperature patterns with the acoustic profile emitted by the bees, drones, and their queen. Future research will investigate why the bees are prematurely swarming beekeeper-made hives.
PRIORITY RESEARCH PROJECT:
The objective of our key research project is to be able to study and interpret the acoustic signature patterns generated at the beehive colony by the bees and their queen. This interpretation method might be used to not only diagnose in a non-invasive way the wellness of the beehive colony but also to confirm the presence of the queen, critical in assessing the honey production activity.
This study requires to tackle Blind Source Separation (BSS) of known acoustic mixture signals acquired by different microphones to yield the unknown individual acoustic signals emitted simultaneously by the bees, the queen, and environment. In BSS there is not prior knowledge of the signals emitted by the bees and the queen that make up the acoustic mixture signal (sound acquired and recorded by the microphones).
BSS method is currently used in diverse fields, such as prenatal diagnosis to monitor and assess the fetal heart activity. Electrical signals from several probes attached to different parts of the mother's abdomen are acquired and recorded. Each of the acquired electrical signals is a mixture of signals emitted simultaneously by fetal and maternal heart rate, mother and fetal breathing rate, and inherent signal noise. The BSS method is used to separate the fetal heart rate from the other signals emitted by the mother body, such as heart rate and breathing. Once the fetal heart rate is separated, an assessment of the fetal heart can be performed.
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