Why a bee counter? While a scale can reveal honey flows, spring build up and the general health of the hive, it doesn't answer all the questions. In discussing fall die off with Dr. Wayne Esaias, he suggested that to really see what was going on, a bee counter was needed. R&D into a visual bee counter using inexpensive USB cameras and openCV has begun, thanks to Dr. Esiaes' suggestion, Blair's introduction to OpenCV(Open Source Computer Vision Library) and to the Intel Research Pittsburgh's paper Video Monitoring of Honey Bee Colonies at the Hive Entrance, by Campbell, Mummert, and Sukthankar.
Optical Bee Counters
The earliest reference to a bee counter that could be found is an article by G. A. Cozens in <a href=cozens1.html>Everyday Electronics May, 1972.
Another early reference summarizing work done by G.A. Buckley, L.G. Davies and D.T. Spindley is found in the <a href=bds_counter.html>Proceedings of the British Pharmacological Society, 13th-15th September, 1978.</a>
Patent Number 6,910,941 Bromenshenk et al. assigned to University of Montana
Video Bee Counter
<a href=vaib9_mummert.pdf>Video Camera Bee Counter</a> Intel Research Pittsburgh, Video Monitoring of honey Bee Colonies