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How The Hive experience is led by real bees

The immersive and impressive Hive responds to the activity of real bees in a beehive located behind the scenes at Kew. But how does this work?

Introducing accelerometers

Small in size, but a crucial part of the Hive experience, accelerometers are vibration sensors which are placed in a beehive at Kew to measure the activity of the bee colony. 

Once in place, the accelerometer picks up the vibrations from activity of the bees and sends this in real-time to the Hive, located near the Orangery in the Gardens. The vibrational signals are converted into lighting effects and so the 1,000 LED luminaires which line the interior of the Hive become a visual representation of the bee colony’s activity.

A soundscape composed of bee sounds and an ensemble of musicians plays alongside the changing lights and together they provide the visitor with a unique experience.

Research into communication of bees

To add to the experience, bone conductors have been installed in the area under The Hive. These convert the sound into vibrations which, when touched with a wooden stick, travel directly to the skull, and represent the secrets of bee communication through vibrations. 

This communication between honey bees was only recently discovered by scientists at Nottingham Trent University, led by Dr Martin Bencsik and was an influencing force behind Wolfgang Buttress's design of The Hive.

The Hive represents the important relationship between bee and human, bringing together beauty, science, sound and landscape through a multi-sensory experience. 

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The Hive at Kew

The Hive promo image

multi-sensory experience, exploring bees and pollination.

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