DIY Hardware with Bug Labs

Wired – Beyond the Beyond: Open-Source Hardware Raises Its Ugly, Homemade Head


This is DIY Radio Shack meets open-source coding in the form of your own personalized “Bug”. What is it? It can be any sort of electronic device you need. For CEO Peter Semmelhack, he needed a wireless GPS device to keep track of his family in the wake of 9/11. They didn’t have those back then and he couldn’t build one either. Out of those kinds of frustrations he founded Bug Labs to enable people to do that. You design your own device from their modular devices and code the hardware together using their open-source, web-enabled, modular software and hardware platform. Homemade iPhone anyone?? I don’t think Apple has anything to worry about . . . just yet.

So it works like this – Starting off with a Bugbase, a minicomputer on Linux, you can add different devices however you want, kind of like adding Lego pieces to create your ultimate monster. A mashup of electronics. They’ll first release a GPS system, camera, motion sensor and LCD screen, with new modules released every quarter.

I sure like Legos, but unfortunately I’m not that technically inclined to write code. I’m keen to learn though. In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep an eye out on what those early adopters out there create. I do think it’s great giving the tools and accessibility for people to create what they want – the ultimate in personalization.

We like them because they share the same philosophy as we do: empowering users to design their own devices. While theirs is hardware, ours is everything but. And thanks, Bruce for your suggestion on making Ponoko shells for their Bugs. What a great idea!

3 Responses to “DIY Hardware with Bug Labs”

  1. New York Times on Ponoko and At-Home Creators | Ponoko - Blog Says:

    […] We’re really excited with the string of news stories featuring Ponoko, with the New York Times being the latest. John Biggs reports on the DIY Tech movement that’s been making strides recently and the rise of the “at-home creators” and makers. With a growing community of makers from Makezine, online DIY stores such as and open-source software media player that center on personalization, more and more resources are cropping up (also see earlier post on open-source hardware Bug Labs) for people to build their own creations – right from the internal electronics to the individualized outer shell – like steampunk creations from Read NYT’s full story here. […]

  2. Ponoko Blog Says:

    […] Community Electronics innovators Bug Labs (previously mentioned on the Ponoko Blog) have just released the BugvonHippel, with this device you can plug in sensors, connections with wires, or anything with a USB! This module is named after Dr. Eric von Hippel of MIT who wrote the seminal book mass customization/personalization/open innovation Democratizing Innovation. In essence, it’s a way to create your own module. It was Eric’s belief that you can’t really call yourself an open platform for innovation unless you truly let people innovate on their own. This was Bug Labs intention. Check out the interview at the BugBlog or buy one online for just $79. Bargain. […]

  3. OpenMoko – Design Your Own Phone « Ponoko – Blog Says:

    […] – Design Your Own Phone April 30 You have all heard of Bug Labs with their open source modular device and Nokia’s metal phone but are you ready to design […]