2017 Minister's Award Winner
SunPillar Inc./Two Bridges Vineyards - Peel Region
Premier Wynne, Stephen Farr, Peter Wheeler, Minister Leal
SunPillar Inc. was created by working with students from various post-secondary institutions across the province to help commercialize their projects and really bring their ideas to life.
Their latest project will soon have beekeepers buzzing about a new product that monitors bee health. Designed to fit into a standard commercial hive, Hive Health gives producers all the essential information they need, without having to disturb their bees.
The software used in the device was designed by a student from the University of Waterloo and uses sensors installed in the top and bottom of the hive to collect data on hive weight, the number of bees entering and exiting, temperature, humidity and other important indicators. Powered by a solar battery, Hive Health stores all that data on a secure digital card. Once the beekeeper comes within range, the data is uploaded to an app. And because that information can be digitally archived, beekeepers can establish baseline data and track changes over time.
New sensors are in the works, including a carbon dioxide monitor that indicates how many bees are breathing in the hive, and another sensor to detect infectious diseases such as foulbrood, which forces beekeepers to burn the entire hive to prevent infection from spreading.
With field trials on the horizon, beekeepers across the province and beyond have a powerful new tool coming their way. And potential applications don't end there. The sensors can be easily adapted to monitor plants for growth and disease so that crop producers could also benefit from this innovative Ontario technology.