The Transparent Beehive is a living sculpture in the form of an observation beehive made from plexiglass, wood, aluminium and steel. Inside is a living bee colony that has access to the outside world through a plexiglass pipe. The beehive is internally structured like a book, in order to make it easy to open the hive for inspections and for filming the activity of the bees inside the nest. Each wooden frame is enhanced with microphones which pick up the vibrations and sounds of the hive. They are sonified and made audible helping to monitor the health and development of the bee colony. Cameras inside the hive monitor the growth of the wax structures and the activity of bees. Additional sensors measure temperature, humidity, and other microclimate measures. Data is treated by sensory processing, pattern recognition and AI algorithms and visualized using sophisticated computer graphics algorithms in order to make the state of the colony tangible.
The Transparent Beehive is a living sculpture, part of a series of ecological instrumented beehives leading towards a fully biocompatible intelligent beehive. The Transparent Beehive allows the Brussels Urban Bee Laboratory to study the tight interaction between city honeybees and urban ecosystems, using artistic research practices and in collaboration with scientists.