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The Compost-Bee

Age 10East Looe, UK

This idea has been brought to life

Maker blog entries

Lottie Smith has been working on making this idea real.
Compost Disposal 2
Posted by Lottie Smith

Showing how the backup turbine is automatically activated to aid the opening of the end of the bee when ramp is raised.

Compost disposal
Posted by Lottie Smith

Small animation showing how the compost is deposited from the Bee at the composting farm facility. Harrison described how the floor of the compost compartment would be raised into a ramp in order that the compost slides out through the open back end of the Bee. Such a clever yet simple idea!

Under the floor of the compost storage area you can see 3 circles which are the pipes which release flower seeds in suitable areas on the Bee's travels. 

This additional feature to help grow flowers for real bees is one of my favourites details that came out of my conversation with Harrison! The second image shows the seed release holes externally on the base of the Compost-Bee.

Compost collection
Posted by Lottie Smith

Short animation to show how the compost is put into the Bees mouth at home. Mechanism activated by the eye of the bee in which there is a button.

Posted by Lottie Smith

Antennae used for GPS navigation and the location of suitable ground for seed release system activation.

Backup Wind Turbine
Posted by Lottie Smith

Back up turbine for power when solar is running low.

Posted by Lottie Smith

Once I decided on the shape I made 2 wings. I used a honey comb material found in certain types of packaging to show the cells which will capture the solar energy to be used to power the Compost-Bee. 

I also played with the angle they would be attached at. You can see in my extremely messy workspace how the wings could rotate around the body of the Bee from fully open to closed.

Starting the prototype
Posted by Lottie Smith

While I'm building I'll often make quick different shaped parts or try different colours to make sure I'm getting the proportions right. I'll take photos like these so I can have a think before I attach things together or spend a long time making an element of the design that ends up the wrong size. It helps to answer questions like How big is that wing? or How wide are those stripes? by actually doing not just thinking.

Meeting with Harrison
Posted by Lottie Smith

Harrison included so many details in his design as to how it would operate but he told me much more when we spoke in our meeting.

He explained how the system would work from a human perspective, about how you would book a bee, and that it would stay with you until in was full before leaving. That they were likely to have to stay outside, as they’d be a bit big in a small kitchen, and maybe smelly! (plus they need to be in the sun to charge)

He told me about how the antennas of the bees have GPS so they can locate themselves and take themselves away to drop the compost when full and you can then book in another bee to come over. I’d asked him if there was any way the bee could drop off fresh compost for gardens that needed it and he told me about an idea that wasn’t on the original plan which was to have the Compost-Bee drop seeds on it’s travels so flowers for real bees could grow! I absolutely loved this!
The GPS mapping information the Bee has for getting about could be used to allow the seeds to only be dropped off over areas of soil suitable for plants to grow too! Genius!

One of the most useful bits of information for building the prototype was the explanation of how the compost gets out of the Bee. Harrison explained that the floor of the area in which the compost is stored tilts up to create a ramp when the rear of the Bee opens up so all the compost just slides down and out.

And another great additional design idea I learnt about was that the Compost-Bee’s don’t all have to be the green and yellow of the original drawing but could be loads of different designs, like patterned with flowers or rainbow colours or cats! Harrison spoke about having some kind of self destruct if anyone were to paint it a drab colour like grey. Not sure I can manage that with my prototype but I completely back the idea! NO to dull bees!

I’ve attached a couple of drawings here which I made after we spoke to help me while I get making!

Initial Ideas
Posted by Lottie Smith

I really loved Harrison's idea for the Compost-Bee. It's such a useful invention! A simple idea that could help thousands of households reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill sites needlessly. A lot of people don’t have outdoor space where they live so can't compost at home and although some places have a bin collection for compost, it’s not that common. The Compost-Bee could fly up to any home, all you have to do is book one in, even if you live right at the top of a tower block! 

Making it easier for a lot of people to make a small change all adds up to helping the Earth in much bigger ways and this invention does that and puts a smile on your face, who doesn’t love bees!

These are some initial sketches I made thinking about how to begin to make a prototype of The Compost-Bee.