BUG: Introducing the first open source gadget

If you think, eat and dream open-source, then the following will surely bring you to nirvana.

At this year’s CES, a company named Bug Labs introduced a new concept gadget, the BUG. It’s a modular device that can be adapted to your unique needs and preferences, and can even take the place of many of your most essential electronics. In need of a phone, media player or digital camera? No problem, the Bug can do the job. What about a GPS, computer, lawnmower or light saber? You can count on the Bug. Ok, the Bug won’t really cut people in half or mow your lawn, but you get the idea… right?

The principle behind the device is simple. First, you start with a base module, the BUGBase, which is composed of a processor, some memory, a small display, a few input/output ports and a battery. Then, if you want your BUG to accomplish a new function, just add the correspondent module. Yes, we know, some of the smart phones out there can do all of the things we enumerated previously, but the beauty behind this concept is that the Bug is entirely open-source. This means if you are a DIY kind of person and have basic technical knowledge, you should be able to make your own modules and add them to the BUGBase.

There’s an added benefit: You don’t need to have a spendy contract with Cingular or another big-business wireless provider, one of the disadvantages of smart devices like the iPhone.

For the software side, all coding is made though Bug Labs’ SDK, which can be downloaded for no charge from their site.

Bug SDK - Screenshot #1 Bug SDK - Screenshot #1

One thing is for sure, the BUG isn’t for everybody, but if you’re a true computer or gadget lover, and have some Java skills in your background, then you’ll definitely want to get your hands on one of these. The base bundle sells for $549 and comes with the BUGbase and the BugMotion, BugLocate and the BUGcam2MP modules. You may find this a bit expensive, but hey, this shouldn’t stop the truly passionate geeks among you.

Advertisement





18 Responses to BUG: Introducing the first open source gadget

  1. I saw a video from CES that talked about this gadget. The pictures you have make this look much more appealing than the ‘prototypes’ they had on the show floor.

  2. I saw a video from CES that talked about this gadget. The pictures you have make this look much more appealing than the 'prototypes' they had on the show floor.

  3. Looks interesting. Though, I bet it will be hard to make your own modules. You would have to get a circuit board printed or something and then write your own drivers for the device. Couldn’t you simply use a standardized port like USB? Does it really have to be open source to allow modding? Plus, if a big business decides to make a module, I doubt they would open source it.

  4. Looks interesting. Though, I bet it will be hard to make your own modules. You would have to get a circuit board printed or something and then write your own drivers for the device. Couldn't you simply use a standardized port like USB? Does it really have to be open source to allow modding? Plus, if a big business decides to make a module, I doubt they would open source it.

  5. I don’t have the chops to do anything with the BUG modules. However, I can’t wait to see what the community can do with these. It is a bit pricey so I think it will take quite a while before adoption is widespread enough that BUG hacking will really take off.

  6. I don't have the chops to do anything with the BUG modules. However, I can't wait to see what the community can do with these. It is a bit pricey so I think it will take quite a while before adoption is widespread enough that BUG hacking will really take off.

  7. Or, I could just get a cell phone that does all of this and probably more, without a rediculous price, and without having to carry and switch out 10 modules. Yeah, open source community, go back to Linux or something. =p

  8. Or, I could just get a cell phone that does all of this and probably more, without a rediculous price, and without having to carry and switch out 10 modules. Yeah, open source community, go back to Linux or something. =p