In a few days the “Intelligent Beehives” workshop will be hold in Valldaura. Meanwhile, Jonathan Minchin, John Rees and Ferran Masip, three students of the FabLab Academy, have been working for weeks on the actual physical beehives and the sensors that will be inside them.
It’s been a process of research to find and create the best prototype, modeling, printing and milling the parts for the final assembly; while circuits where printed, soldered, and lots of programming and testing was happening. There will be – at least – three final beehives, one to be placed in Valldaura, one to be placed on the rooftop of Iaac, and another to be shipped to Belgium, at OKNO.
conversation Annemie and Tomás:
A: As an April goal, we should have the two beehives in Valldaura & Brussels, with the new designs. Then from April to June we should endup with the advanced prototypes, either 3d printed or using organic materials.
I would like to make some tests for 'organic beehives', starting from plant seeds.
Seeds fascinate me, and there are so many different strange but wonderful designs and forms that we can take as input for a beehive design.
I would like to know:
- is it possible to scan with a 3D scanner a small seed from ± 10mm?
- is it than possible to 'blow up' the scan in the computer and magnify and modify the design?
- and as a third step laserprint the 'seed-design' in a big model (± 500mm x 500 mm or more)?
- and 3D print the design with organic material, as beeswax for example (or propolis)?
T: I think we can do the scan, lets see how much resolution we get, but there are options. We can 3d print it in normal materials. For the organic materials is one of the tasks for John, to research in the development of a print head for the kuka robot that might work with the wax coming from the bees, so I think is technically possible, but it will be part of the final development of the project until he finishes the academy.
presentation at Makers' Faire Rome, 3-6 october 2013, Palazzo dei Congressi
download the plans and documentation, open source:
25/08/2013 - making the OS Warre public. A conversation with Tomás Diez.
A: Plan B. Sounds as pretty commercial stuff. Nothing against it, but this is not at all in my interest. I want to go for the survival of the bees in a scientific way, studying the colonies and therefore developing observation hives and monitoring systems. What do the people of Open Tech Forever want to do exactly? Making OpenSource hives in their Fab Labs, or setting up a bee keeping business as Plan B? I don't understand it very well …
T: Is not as plan Bee, the idea behind OTF (Open Tech Forever) is more about the real concern about the beekeeping. Open Source says everything about what OTF wants to do, same as Fab Lab, just opening tools, but with the validation of science with people like you. I agree that plan Bee is pretty commercial, I just got it from a friend, just looking to other initiatives, besides the commercialization there is a community building and communication around the project, I think thats the value, and if added to science is great.
A: Yes, true. Building a community is nice, but it asks for continuous input (from the initiator). I understood you said that OTF wanted to start a business as the Plan Bee. Of course their approach, making hardware with OS designs, is very valuable. Good would be that a community of users and contributors builds up itself, without someone to be responsible to bring them together. Therefore it's of course very important to have good (social) communication tools. A custom designed app?
T: It is exactly about opening the project for communities of bee keepers, and linking it to Fab Labs and OTF-alike organizations. There has been a lot of interest on the project here (in Tokyo-international Fab Lab meeting) in the meeting of the Fab Lab community, the value of it is inmense, we have some bee keepers in the network. But I agree, sustainability is crucial, and community building more important. I would like to keep the same spirit of Smart Citizen, meaning that is not a product, but a platform or framework for users to generate value around certain aspects of the environment or nature.
open tech forever: open source Kenyan beehive
annemie: I am surely interested to do this co-tutoring for the Fab Academy, concerning the beehive design and related items.
What do you have in mind, how do you see the collaboration? Is there a fixed programme&schedule for the Thesis-students?
Do you see this more as a 'mentor', giving context, or rather as very practical instructions?
tomas: For me the time line is:
- September - December: defining clear goals. Continue working with the initial design. Adaptation of the shield for Smart Citizen. Selection of sensors to be included. Deliverable: a pre-project proposal, written + prototypes
- January - June: Project development. Prototyping and testing different models. Finalising the electronics. Building an online platform for online beekeeping. Deliverable: Written thesis (short format) + working prototype
Presentation at Fab10 in Barcelona
Students: Jon Minchin and John Rees
Supervisors: Annemie Maes and Tomas Diez
Evaluation committee: Neil Gershenfeld
We are still working on formalisms of the program, will keep you updated
In relation with the role, I see it as a mentor, from the point of view of the bee expertise you have + the actual knowledge in the possible technology to be implemented
smart citizen kit