Creating a buzz with Design BUZZ

When I was first introduced to beekeeping tools at the 'Introduction to Beekeeping' course I attended earlier this year, I was quite bemused by many of them. Take the smoker for example. Although it is an ingenious design in that it puffs smoke onto the bees to calm them down when you are about to take the roof off their house, it was first introduced in 1850 and hasn't changed much since.

Although many beekeepers like the idea of the 'craft' of beekeeping and using these nostalgic tools, I wondered whether they could do with a redesign especially as beekeeping is experiencing a resurgence at the moment with many young(ish) people like myself wanting to take up the craft.

So, I proposed the idea of a design competition to my colleagues at DEVELOP3D to see what our design and engineering readership could hatch up. We called it Design BUZZ and launched it in our magazine and on the website a couple of months ago. I have received quite a bit of interest @tanya_weaver on twitter as well as a number of emails. GrabCAD have even come onboard as our competition partners and the brief seems to have captured the imagination of their members too. So far there are a number of public entries that you can view here.

I'm just eager to see what designers can come up with. Many beekeepers may argue 'if it ain't broke, why fix it?'. But that is the beauty of design - creating a new solution to a problem that will make the user's life better and provide a good experience. 

The deadline is 30th July. If there are any beekeepers out there who have an idea themselves for a product, I'd love to hear about it.

Actually, when someone on GrabCAD asked for some more ideas, I had a bit of a think and came up with these:
  • As I often do the inspections on my own I find it difficult to document what I am doing and lift the frames out at the same time. I want to take lots of photos for this blog but I can't hold the frame one handed and take photos at the same time so, maybe an idea for a 'bee camera' would be good. 
  • I also think a 'Swiss Army' style knife tool could be interesting. This handy gadget could contain all that the beekeeper needs including scissors to cut off excess comb, a bee tool to edge apart the frames, a scraper to scrape off any excess propolis.... 
  • A toolbox to keep all the beekeeper's tools in that he/she may need for an inspection. Sort of like a fishing tackle box but for beekeepers. Beekeepers need to take a lot with them to each inspection, which can often be cumbersome to drag around each time. 
  • The weather here in the UK has been pretty terrible and you shouldn't open the hive when it's raining. So maybe an idea for an umbrella or temporary roof would be good.


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