Bee++

Project Team

Firas Safieddine
Michel Azzi

Nikolaos Argyros

Sameera Chukapali

Burak Paksoy

Faculty

Claudia Pasquero

Carmello Zappulla

Maria Kuptsova

IaaC 2016

Project Publications

 

plataformaarquitectura

EcoLogic StudioLab

IaaC Blog

As part of the Urban Public Space Studio, this project aimed at understanding the beahviour of the honey bee which is a major part of our ecological system, as well as understanding the properties of the wax the bees generate and trying to optimize it for different uses. The main objective of the research was to explore how digital and biologically inspired fabrication techniques can be combined to produce architectural structures that fit in an urban context. 

As honeybees are becoming more endangered, we looked on how to get these creatures back to our cities, and how they can serve as a "3d-wax printing drone" nonetheless raising awareness about these mini-builders and the benefits we can get from them -besides pollination.

 

Honeybees are insects that inhabit collectively in a colony. These insects’ can exhibit characteristics as complex as one of a mammal by collaborating together through mechanisms of collective intelligence. Bees collectively act as one body which shows a behaviour analogue to the one of a single mammal. After studying and decoding the bee behaviour, we are experimenting on a possible dialectic between natural bees and cyber-bees, based on the principle of swarm intelligence and looking at algorithms that are able to describe different aspects of the colony behaviour -such as ABC algorithm and KLS algorithm.

 

In Urban Public Spaces which we argue currently lack interaction with natural phenomena and process, our resulting structures could be considered an ‘additive space enhancers’. With this, we intend to express the fact that these structures are not only visual enhancers but also behave as enhancers to all senses. The sense of touch by the texture created, the fragrant odour of beeswax enhancing the smell, the buzzing sounds from the bees enhancing the hearing and the taste from the honey. This space is a complete sensorial experience to the public.

 

The space enhancer will be an object that is evolving with the public and growing gradually by interacting with the mechanic apparatus. This in itself will create a whole new perception of the place and would transform it from a static container to an event where people can experience a higher level of sensorial interaction with processes of production. We are also raising awareness about bees among the public through this project on collective intelligence, machines, material processes.

 

 

Beehaviour

We are interested in understanding bee behavior because of their swarm intelligence, high capacity for self-learning and cognitive ability. Their optimised self-organisation skills in information gathering. Their indigenous division of labour in construction. Furthermore, we are interested in the interpretation of these inspiring innovators abilities, into architecture. This is the preliminary research on the honeybee behavior, wax production and lifecycle.

bee++ iaac firas safieddine project, bee wax, bee life

Indexing the Beehaviour

We are interested in understanding bee behavior because of their swarm intelligence, high capacity for self-learning and cognitive ability. Their optimised self-organisation skills in information gathering. Their indigenous division of labour in construction. Furthermore, we are interested in the interpretation of these inspiring innovators abilities, into architecture. This is the preliminary research on the honeybee behavior, wax production and lifecycle.

bee behaviour index, bee behaviour, honeybee iaac
iaac bee++ honeybee lifecycle

Hacking the BeeHive

We worked with the Green FabLab in Valldaura and the Open Source BeehHives project to get the opportunity to experiment with possible patterns and ways of wax depositing of bees in addition to study traditional beehives, monitor the bees and have a more controlled research environment.

The first experiment constituted hacking a traditional beehive, and after understanding the way bees build, we designed curves within the hive as alternatives to the normal vertical panels in an attempt to study how the bees will behave with this.

Below are the graphics of the hacked live bee hive. Here we have tried to trick the bees in believing that they are building the conventional
curves but leading them to change the course of direction. We have tried to experiment 3 dimensional curve bend, curve towards gravity, intersection of curves. Here we are testing with play of density, and their directional knowledge. Also covered the other half of the hive with insulation to prevent colony collapse.

The result of the first beehive experiment came as follows

-We were aware of the results as it is not the season for building for bees.
-The hive below the installed hive is incomplete and is under construction by the bees.
-Within 3 weeks of installation the bees have started with deposition of wax on two points of the curves.

Simulating the Collection Behaviour

We translated the swarm behaviour into a set of rules that we run this simulation upon. The basic goal was to visualize the optimization in the collection process. Bees first wander randomly, as a bee finds a better nectar source, it comes back to the hive and performs a waggle dance, which after more bees will follow and as this process itterates, more bees will be going to the optimal sources.

Media:

 

[ Processing, Rhinoceros, Grasshopper ]

 

Input:

 

[ Agents]

[ Targets ]

[ BeeHive ]

 

Rules:

 

[ 5 different targets ]

[ Target fitness level ]

[ Bee behaviour ]

.[ Fitness evaluation ]

.[ Shortest path ]

.[ Optimal Solution

 

Output:

 

[ Position of each agent ]

[Trail of each agent ]

 

Computing the Construction Behaviour

Media:

[ Rhinoceros, Grasshopper ]

 

Input:

[ BeeHive positions ]

[ Heat Flow ]

[ Starting Points ]

 

Rules:

[ 10 Random starting points for construction ]

[ Fastest construction path ]

[ Triangulation follows heating path ]

Output:

[ HoneyComb form after 4-6 weeks ]

 

Simulating the Construction Behaviour

Media:

 

[ Rhinoceros, Grasshopper ]

 

Input:

 

[ BeeHive Dimensions ]

[ Deposition points ]

[ Starting Points ]

 

Rules:

[ Start deposition from the top, following construction diagram ]

[ Connect each new point with the starting points]

 

Output:​

 

[ Text file with coordinates ]

 

honeybee building simulation grasshopper

This simulation was made as an attempt to better understand the research findings, and mechanize the process.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Material-Hack

Wax as material is impermeable, the bees build their hives in a particular manner to make them water tight. We are using the technic they build in and the material hence ‘space enhancers’ could be used in making human adaptable spaces which act as rain shelters. Bees use their hives for storage of honey using the same ideology the ‘space enhancers’ could be made into rain water collectors.

As we studied the properties of bee wax, we found that it is brittle in its dry state. Hence to make it more
durable we wanted to add natural fibres to bee wax

-Bee Wax + Cotton – because cotton has more absorption capacity but they are small fibres.
-Bee Wax + Jute fibres –because jute has less absorption capacity but they are long fibres.
-Bee Wax + strings – because they are already in their maximum tension.

Hacked Material Analysis

honeybee bee beewax structural analysis hack material

Hacked Material Frames

From the curve diagrams and time taken to reach breaking point by the materials, our analysis resulted in bee wax with jute fibres being the most effective combination. As mentioned before, the traditional way of building is planar, we funnelled up our experiments, simulations and material work in these frames.

Jute-Fiber-Thread composite weaving

Jute-Fiber weaving

Jute-Thread weaving

Machine Results

Texture Close-up

2-axes portable frame with an extruder

We located the four points within the cube, connected them with strings and the agenda was to have the fibres covered with wax. We constructed an apparatus which moved in x, y planes and has a 3D printed extruder for wax. This apparatus was attached to every face of the cube and the wax was printed on the fibres. Once the wax was let to settle according to gravity it resulted in the current form.

Machine Programming

Project:
[m]MTM-[modular]Machine that make.
Media:
[Python, Gestalt Nodes]

Extruder Details

 

The Nichrome wire was coiled around the metal container in-between the layers of kapton tape for insulation. The two ends of the nichrome wire were connected to the power supply. The coiling was done equidistantly in order to avoid cold zones. The closer the coils the more was the resistance. In about 120 seconds the wax
was melting.

Machine Results

Triangulated 3d structure

Metaballs

Final Component

The final step was creating a component that could be iterated to form a larger component that can be iterated to form a larger structure. The component below is the outcome of a formal research based on the material/behavioural and construction research done before.

Final Component Texture