I’ve been working with Bug Labs on ideation and prototyping for miniBug, a new modular computing platform for sensor and device networking. The project has been a lot of fun and allowed me to work with two of my smart friends, Alicia Gibb of Bug Labs and Dan Steingart of CCNY. Some of our initial work is described in a paper that was presented at the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction, TEI 2011. Here’s the abstract and a link to the paper:
Bug Labs is an open source company attempting to democratize innovation through Linux-based prototyping devices. To scale our product line we recognized certain factors that needed to prioritized: functionality, connection, shape and size, and economics. While three of these factors were addressed by the original BUGbase, the original unit is relatively expensive. At a cost of roughly $800, the BUGbase is beyond the reach of many prototypers. MiniBUG is in development—a smaller unit with a streamlined feature set and sale price of less than $100. This work represents the critical assessment of the original unit and the resulting miniBUG unit. The research collected was used to reflect on the process of designing miniBUG while considering price point, flexibility, affordances in the functionality, and the usability of the complete system.