I'll let the gents in the above video do most of the talking about this much-buzzed about Indiegogo campaign, but here's the jist of it:

The passionate, multi-national team at Open Source Beehives (OSBH) — a partnership between launched in partnership between Fab Lab Barcelona, the Open Tech Collaborative, and Valldaura — is reaching out to citizen scientists, seasoned and amateur apiarists, and anyone else concerned about the plight of the honeybee for a bit of assistance of the crowdfunding variety with the goal to further understand — and, ideally, put an end to — colony collapse disorder.

The Denver/Barcelona/Brussels-based team has already designed two clever and accommodating flat-pack beehive designs — the Colorado Top Bar and the Barcelona Warré — made from eco-plywood that can be easily assembled at home. Or, for DIY-minded bee-lovers with access to a CNC router, both OSBH beehive designs can also be downloaded and "printed" locally before they're assembled. The hives, explains the OSBH campaign page "aim to prioritise bee colony health, make beekeeping more accessible, and will ultimately allow you to log and study the health of your colony."

With the beehives designed and ready to go, the OSBH team needs your help in further developing perhaps the most crucial aspect of the initiative: an open source, sensor-based monitoring system called the Smart Citizen Kit that will transform these attractive beehives into attractive and smart beehives. The data produced by a network of these sensor-equipped hives and published on the Smart Citizen platform will be "used to study colony health, build hard evidence against the causes of the problem, and generate policy change and informed solutions moving forward."

Naturally, there are a variety of totally sweet perks involved with the campaign. And for backers who don't want an OSBH beehive themselves but feel strongly about this massively important (important being a huge understatement as our survival depends on the survival of honeybees) international cause, a contribution of $40 will get you a jar of organic honey produced by a social enterprise in Zambia along with a tube of beeswax lip balm.

More at Indiegogo.

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Understanding honeybee die-offs with DIY smart hives
Through the collaborative magic of crowdfunding, the Open Source Beehives project aims to bring downloadable beehive designs to citizen scientists everywhere.