The sarabee hive-charger, a finale to the sarabee saga.


Originally, I created a CAD model of an individual bee charger. This model, shown below, would charge and extract data from an individual bee.

Initial Sketch

To redesign this project, I went back to the drawing board and produced initial sketches. One of which I presented to my conservation specialist for feedback.

Initial Evaluation

Through presenting my initial sketches to my conservation specialist I received critical feedback on the form of this hive charger. The conservation specialist had the following concerns

  1. The hive shape is too bulky for transport.
  2. The panels on the sides, while protective of the bees, add a fragile element to the equipment.
  3. It’s quite large and could be viewed as intrusive or intimidating by scientists unfamiliar with technology.
  1. How do we know when the bees are charged?
  2. How will we know when the data is all extracted, and that it’s done properly?
  3. Is there any way to see view the data from all of the bees?

Final Sketch

After gathering this feedback, I sketched a sleek half-hive form for the charger/ data port. I reduced the button size and overall form size to make the hive charger more portable and less intrusive. The half hive is a surface charger where the bees land and are charged on contact. The percent charged is displayed as a progress ring around the bee, and the data extraction is displayed as an outer ring around the bee. I also created an accompanying software to help visualize the bee data. All of these features are illustrated in the sketch below.


Because the physical form of this prototype was so central to the functionality, I chose to work with my analog prototyping skills to shape the form of the sarabee hive. It also used this method to visualize the scale of the system by creating bees that are closer to the actual size of a honeybee. I used foam core, puffballs, puff paint, spray paint, and acrylic paint to prototype my hive charger.

Final Evaluation & Future Considerations

After prototyping my final hive design, I returned to my conservation expert for final critique and to inform future iterations of this product. She felt my second iteration better met the needs of conservation researchers. She said the half hive sarabee charger was more compact and less intrusive. If I were to continue this project, my conservation expert mentioned how important it is to be mindful of the materials each product is being made from, and how it’s being made. In order for a product to truly be a conservation tool, it has to be ethically and responsibly made. In addition to material sourcing, it is also important to think about distribution of the sarabee system in terms of carbon emissions.


Overall, I am pleased with this work.



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