BEE'S :: 2007-2009

Person performing a heath check up
Face object (36*25 cm) prototype 2007; Blown handmade glass; Crisform, Portugal.

BEE’S explores how we might co-habit with natural biological systems and use their potential to increase our perceptive abilities. We have always co-existed with these systems, but their potential was unknown.
The overall project aims to create platforms to generate sustainable symbiotic links where the potential of those natural systems around us can be wisely used.

The project is based on ongoing research about insects’ phenomenal odour perception, in particular bees. They can be trained within minutes using Pavlov’s reflex to target a specific odour and their range of detection includes chemical threats, toxins and diagnosing diseases.

The first developments consist in a series of alternative diagnosis tools that use trained bees  to perform a health check up and detect diseases in someone’s breath.

The glass objects have a smaller chamber that serves as the diagnosis space and a bigger chamber where previously trained bees are kept.
People would exhale and the bees would rush into the smaller chamber if they detect something.

One of the aims is to develop collaborative relations between science and design translating the outcome into systems and objects that people can understand and use.

Person exhaling into the diagnostic chamber
Diagnostic tool 2 (26*15 cm) prototype 2007; borosilicate; Vilabo, Portugal.

Scientific research demonstrated that trained bees can detect certain diseases in a person's breath
Precise object  (22*12 cm) prototype 2007 ; borosilicate; Vilabo, Portugal.

 At the beehive - checking the bees behaviour in the diagnostic tools

Bees detect chemicals in the odorous secretion of the axilla, apocrine glands are known to contain pheromones that retain information   about a person's health that bees antennae can identify
Diagnostic tool 4 (25*16 cm) prototype 2008 ; borosilicate; Vilabo, Portugal.

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Prof. Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby (Royal College of Art, Design Interactions Department)
Dr. Mathilde Briens (Inscentinel - UK)
Monica Santos (Filmmaker)
David Perkins (Roots & Shoots - London Beekeeper Association)
Des. Sónia Durães and Glass Master Mateus (Crisform)
Mr. João Gomes (Vilabo)

Susana Soares

Bernardete Fernandes
Clarie Ducruet
Margarida Matos