Bees are insects that are essential to the environment yet they are also creatures that few people are found of. Although their unique yellow and black striped pattern makes them instantly recognizable insects, their ability to sting people makes them far less favored than ladybugs and butterflies. However, bees are actually quite docile towards humans and only sting when they feel extremely threatened. For the most part they are content with flying around gardens and collecting pollen from flowers. Bees are famous for making honey but they also are essential to the ecosystem as a whole.
Unfortunately, in recent years bee populations have dwindled due to the rapid industrialization of numerous nations. Last year, in the United States alone, 31% of all bee colonies disappeared! A decline in bee populations could have hugely negative impacts on the ecosystem overall. Luckily, technology might be able to help bees thrive.
“The Open Source Beehive” is the name of a project that is using advances in technology to preserve nature. 3D printers are rapidly becoming one of the hottest items on the market. The usefulness of these devices is seemingly endless which makes the future of the technology seem very bright indeed. One of the more unusual ways to use 3D printing technology is to create custom beehives that can monitor bee’s activity and even help keep them healthy by controlling factors such as temperature and pesticide exposure. According the to the official website:
“The Open Source Beehives project is a collaborative response to the threat faced by bee populations in industrialized nations around the world. The project proposes to design hives that can support bee colonies in a sustainable way, to monitor and track the health and behavior of a colony as it develops. Each hive contains an open source sensory kit, The Smart Citizen Kit (SCK), which can transmit to an open data platform called Smartcitizen.me. These sensor enhanced hive designs are open and freely available online, the data collected from each hive is published together with geolocations allowing for a further comparison and analysis of the hives.”
These beehives can be printed from a template so anyone who wants to own one can do so! People who have a 3D printer can create an Open Source hive in their own home and people that do not have a 3D printer can order the printed parts that will be delivered by mail (assembly required). Thus, via the aims of this project absolutely anyone who wants to help bees by building a special beehive for them will have the ability to do so!
The Open Source Beehive website includes wealth of information about this project such as a video that clearly illustrates how these special beehives are built and provides access to a community forum to speak with other people who are interested in this project. Currently this project is in its early stages and is seeking funding on Indiegogo (a crowd funding website) but it has already attracted media attention and support. Spring Wise, a technology monitoring and reporting website, wrote a wonderfully informative article about this beehive project that can be viewed here: http://www.springwise.com/printable-smart-hive-save-bees-dying/
Anyone who is interested in the Open Source Beehive project is encouraged to look at the below link to the official website. By learning more about the importance of bees we can find ways to help them and, in effect, help ourselves too. http://www.opensourcebeehives.net/