October 8th, 2010

Update Open Hardware Definition

The Open Hardware Definition has been updated  with a statement of principals:

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

Please view the entire definition draft here. And we invite you to post your thoughts, changes and addition to the definition on the forums for the 1.0 version. There will also be continued discussions on the mailing list.

Special thanks to everyone who gave feedback for the 0.4 draft, especially Windell Oskay, David Mellis, and Phillip Torrone for their hard work dedicating much time on the wording.

Read another excellent post on the topic by Sparkfun.

September 22nd, 2010

Bug Labs and Verizon Wireless Partner!


The wireless carriers in this country face a daunting challenge – finding ways to charge for more and higher value data services fast enough to offset the deteriorating demand for high margin voice services – while simultaneously turning in positive earnings.  It’s a difficult trick to pull off.

Today there are a couple ways to do this; convince you to pay more for services on devices that you currently own (e.g. your phone) or get you to pay for services on new device types (e.g. iPad).

Given the focus of this blog, it won’t surprise you that I’d like to focus on the second approach, because it is here that I think a significant opportunity exists.  If you do a quick inventory of devices available on any of the carriers’ web sites you’ll see only a handful of device types available.  Obviously, the phone is the overwhelming focus – feature phones, multi-media phones, smart phones, etc.  You’ll also find a smattering of netbooks, wireless picture frames and USB modems, but that’s about it.  Your choices are pretty limited.

Now compare this selection to what’s available in any of the popular app stores.  I’ll use Apple’s because it’s the most famous.  Today you can avail yourself of over 250,000 applications organized loosely into 20 categories, and it’s still growing rapidly!  In this world, you have an entire universe of choice.

The explosion of software applications for the mobile world is testimony to the fact that, for the most part, the cost of innovating in software has gone to zero.  You, as a software developer, can get all the tools you need to create mind blowing new applications for no charge.  The results of this fact speak for themselves.

Now compare this with innovating in hardware.  Well, there is no comparison.  Today it is incredibly complicated and expensive to bring new wireless hardware devices to market.  In fact, it’s so hard that only large, well-financed companies can do it, and few of them well.  But does it HAVE to be this way?  No.  But changing how it all works will take time, energy and the participation of key industry players.  Which is why…

… I’m very happy to announce that we’re adding another, large, influential member to our growing community of open hardware advocates – Verizon Wireless.  It may come as a surprise to you that a company that is so often vilified for being closed is teaming up with Bug Labs, a company that is defined by its openness.  I was skeptical at first too.  But over the past several months the teams we’ve worked with at Verizon have demonstrated time and again their commitment to supporting our mission.  Their press release announcing our partnership (came out today) says it best.  And we’re on their website here!

Why is Verizon interested?  Because of the challenges I mentioned in the first paragraph.  They can do two things – deal with the status quo or change the game in the hopes of inspiring whole new categories of wireless device developer.  And why is this good?  Because it will lead to greater choice for us, the customer (both business and consumer).  And who knows – five years from now it may not seem weird at all to have a “Gadget Store” filled with 250,000 different wireless devices to choose from.  Stranger things have happened.

I’m thrilled to have them as a partner and look forward to telling you all about our progress.

September 20th, 2010

The Open Hardware Summit is SOLD OUT!

Earlier this evening about 11pm, the Open Hardware Summit sold out! We are so excited by the response.  In case you were still hoping to be part of it, we’ll be in the usual places: Twitter, flickr, blogs, forums and anything with a #openhardwaresummit. We are also video taping the event (We’re crossing our fingers we’ll have the bandwidth to stream it!) so in case you can’t make it to the Hall of Science we want you to feel included.

Thanks to everyone for all your support, we’re looking forward to a revolutionary event.

September 9th, 2010

Tickets on sale for the Open Hardware Summit

Tickets for the Open Hardware Summit are on sale! Follow this link to purchase your ticket: http://www.openhardwaresummit.org/attend/

Tickets include breakfast, lunch and cocktail hour at the end of the day. Along with your ticket price, you will also receive a one-day pass to Maker Faire! Special thanks to Maker Faire for partnering with the Open Hardware Summit.

There is a reduced pass, while it lasts for artists, non-profits and students.

Thank you to HTINK, our fiscal sponsor for handling our ticketing finances.

If you’re traveling for the Summit, we also have lodging and travel suggestions on the Attend page.

July 13th, 2010

Announcing the Open Hardware Summit


Bug Labs is excited to announce the Open Hardware Summit in conjunction with MAKE, and Creative Commons, and a little help from our friends at NYSCI, littleBits and Eyebeam!

The Open Hardware Summit will be a venue to present, promote and discuss the undergoing open source hardware movement. The summit will focus on hardware as a system, involving conversations on software, manufacturing, legal, and other factors surrounding open source hardware. It is taking place on September 23rd, at the New York Hall of Science – right before Maker Faire.

Open source hardware has a growing community around it – enough that we figured would fill a moderately-sized lecture hall. Together we are revolutionizing the method, processes and means in which electronics are made, and a lot of us have been doing this for several years now.  Mentoring and sharing are always an important piece to any open source project, so our goal is to have an entire day filled with mentoring and sharing of knowledge about the open hardware industry, how we aim to license open source hardware, and why it is an important charge to lead.

For more information on the Summit, please visit openharewaresummit.org.

I’d like to thank Ayah Bdeir for co-chairing the event with me, we both hope to see you there!

June 21st, 2010

Bag – Cat = New News!

Seems the SEC spilled the beans (nothing we could do!).  But yes, Bug Labs has raised some fresh capital – $3M to be exact – just in time for some exciting announcements we have planned for the coming months.   I know we’ve been quiet lately on the blog front (though if you follow me on Twitter (psemme) I’m not so silent J).  The reason is much of what we’ve been working on has been for corporate and government customers who have prohibited us from discussing our joint work.  But that is about to change as we start rolling into new phases of development.  So stay tuned for some interesting updates.

Also – we announced our BUG 2.0 version earlier this year and we’re readying a number of exciting updates on that front as well.   And for those of you who don’t know, there is always interesting stuff going on over on our “other” blog” – community.buglabs.net.  Be sure to check it out.

More soon!!

February 18th, 2010

The Importance of MWC for us

Accenture GSMA boothThe 2010 Mobile World Congress ended today.  It was the first time I attended and I leave feeling gratified for a couple reasons.  The first is best illustrated by the photo at left.  As you can see it’s an Accenture booth within the GSMA’s (organizer of the MWC event) Embedded Mobile Zone section of the conference.  What’s not obvious from the picture is that every demo in that booth is tied to a BUG.  BUGs as edge devices determining air quality, BUGs as real-time vehicle tracking devices, BUGs as mobile medical information servers, BUGs as gateways to back-end cloud computing systems (Accenture’s Mobility Operated Services) and BUGs as hardware-crypto security devices.  All the demos were not only using BUGs but were great use cases for BUGs.

The second reason I felt gratified is exemplified by the next picture, again from the Accenture booth.  If you look closely you’ll see the Pitney Bowes name on the screen.  This is another Fortune 500 company successfully using PB GSMABUGs to innovate in new ways and talking about it publicly.  In this case, we’ve helped them build a BUGmodule that incorporates a new hardware-based, cryptographic engine that creates an incredibly secure foundation for applications that require it – financial, pharmaceutical, and medical are good examples.   The response they received was awesome.  And they’re happy to tell anyone that asks, their BUGs made all the difference in getting the project done and applications written quickly and cost effectively.

I met a bunch of great people here.  I made a lot of great business contacts and collected many business cards.  But at the end of it all, what I’m most proud of is that we were able to show visitors how we help our customers innovate faster and more economically in hardware.   I’m looking forward to an even more impressive show next year.  Thanks to Accenture, Pitney Bowes and the Bug Labs crew for making this event so memorable.

February 17th, 2010

Engadget Hands on with BUG 2.0

bugbase-20-mwc-03-smGreat post from Chris over at Engadget, who managed to catch up with Peter at the MWC Accenture Developer Bar in Barcelona. An excerpt is below and you can read the full article here:

“We sat down with CEO Peter Semmelhack today on the hustling, bustling floor of MWC to get the straight dope on what makes the BUGbase 2.0 a superior product. First of all, you can’t overlook the fact that they’ve moved to a Cortex A8-based OMAP3530, an appreciable boost from the ARM11 core it replaces, but it turns out there are a whole bunch of subtler changes too, like the inclusion of on-board audio out (pictured above toward the left of the base), HD video out capability through a module, and a second microSD slot…”

February 16th, 2010

Great Bug 2.0 Coverage

We’re really excited here about yesterday’s announcement of Bug 2.0. As it turns out, we are far from the only ones. Check out the great coverage below:

We’ll keep you updated with all the great stuff going on in Barcelona soon!

February 15th, 2010

Welcome to Barcelona, Bug 2.0!

BUG 2.0 - SMALLToday’s a big day for the BUG team. We are reporting to you from the 2010 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain with some really exciting news and some really incredible demos (be sure to check back for updates as they come in). If you have not yet heard the big news, we announced this morning a new addition to the BUG family of products – BUG 2.0. The second generation BUG will be a big leap forward for our little rapid prototyping device. We will be releasing plenty of details in the coming months on all of the planned enhancements, but right now all we can tell you is that the new BUG will have support for Android development and will be based on the Texas Instruments OMAP3 platform, allowing for full BeagleBoard compatibility. We are always looking to bring the open hardware movement to larger and larger communities of developers, and BUG 2.0 will meet that goal in a very big way. If you would like more info, be sure to check out the full press release HERE.

We will have many more updates coming out of Barcelona from Monday to Thursday. Be sure to check back often for the latest from Peter, the BUG team, and some of the incredible businesses we are working with on the ground here at the conference.