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.

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