I’m an investor in Bug Labs (personally, not through our funds). When I first met with Peter Semmelhack, the CEO, on an introduction from Fred Wilson (the lead investor) I immediately got it. After about 15 minutes, I said to Peter something to the effect of “ah – today’s version of the Healthkit.”
Peter’s vision was that in addition to being a completely open source hardware product that allows you to prototype any consumer electronics device (or – more simply – any “electronic gadget”), all the software and design would be “open.”
Bug has just announced that they will be working with IDEO to redesign the user interaction of the product out in the open. This is more than an open source software project – it’s actually a public hardware UI redesign that involves anyone in the Bug community.
I love the notion of the open source hardware movement as it is completely in line with the Ph.D. research I did at MIT under Eric von Hippel. Bug Labs agrees and actually created the BUGvonHippel module to honor Eric!
If you want to participate (or just play along at home) hop on the Bug Blog, Bug Community, and the IDEO blog.