Bug Labs BUGbase and BUGmodules hands-on

There's no doubt Bug Labs is getting closer to launching its open source modular gadget kits, but for those wondering when we'd see some physical hardware, today's your lucky day. We got a chance to check out an early BUGbase unit and the full complement of BUGmodules. While we didn't get to see it up and running, we did get to fool around with the whole experience of plugging (and unplugging) modules, and got a good feel for how things work. Some details:

  • The BUGbase uses a bus with four module slots. Each module has a base size of 2 x 2-inches (meaning the BUGbase itself is ~4 x 2-inches).

  • Multiple BUGbases can be physically conjoined and communicate wirelessly for greater than four simultaneous devices, but there is no system for bus expansion of a single BUGbase.

  • While it can charge via USB, there's also a backup power input should you use the USB for an external peripheral.

  • Bug settled on MMCmicro instead of microSD because it's open source. We're torn about this one. We get it, but really, who the hell has any MMCmicro cards laying around?

  • Yeah, that's a standard camera mount you see on the side. Nice addition.

  • The modules we looked at included a display, GPS receiver, motion detector, digital camera, and 3G radio. Obviously those are just a few listed on the site.

  • The LCD module apparently uses the exact same QVGA LCD panel as the iPod classic. If that matters at all to you.

  • The module plastics are colored according to purpose: input, output, or input-output. For example, the light blue modules are output only (like the 3G module above); dark blue modules are input-output (like a touchscreen), while white modules are input only (GPS receiver, etc.).

  • Yeah, they made a Hiro Protagonist reference.

  • Still no price / exact launch details, but we're obviously getting close.