Why a visual 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 the article Bee Counter by G. A. Cozens in Everyday Electronics, May, 1972.
Another early reference, A bee counter for monitoring bee activity and bee behaviour summarizing work done by G.A. Buckley, L.G. Davies and D.T. Spindley is found in the Proceedings of the British Pharmacological Society, 13th-15th September, 1978.
In July, 2003, Bromenshenk, Seccomb, Rice and Etter filed Patent Number 6,910,941 Honey Bee Monitoring System for Monitoring Bee Colonies in a Hive (assigned to University of Montana).
On October 14th, 2012 Version 2 of the Instructables: Honey Bee Counter by hydronics was released.
<a href=vaib9_mummert.pdf>Video Camera Bee Counter</a> Intel Research Pittsburgh, Video Monitoring of honey Bee Colonies More