BUGLabs Contest

We’re excited to announce that we’re launching a special contest with Bug Labs, the folks behind BUG, the open, modular consumer-electronics hardware and Web-services platform that you can use like Legos to build practically any gadget you can dream up. And even more exciting, the grand prize will be a BUGbase and the first batch of four BUGmodules!

Launching soon, the BUG platform comprises the BUGbase: a mini Linux computer with 128 megabytes of RAM, a 532-megahertz ARM processor, built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB, and a rechargeable battery. The first set of four snap-on BUGmodules includes:

  • GPS receiver
  • digital still/video camera
  • touch-sensitive, color LCD screen
  • accelerometer/motion sensor

With these cool capabilities in mind, the world is yours. What would you do with a gadget that can sense its location, has Wi-Fi capability, accepts input via screen or USB, can detect motion, and is capable of capturing photos and videos?

That’s precisely what we want you to show us. For full details on how to build your ultimate BUG and win, read on:

To win the grand prize of a BUGbase and four BUGmodules, we want you to build your dream BUG yourself! For this, you’ll be using the BUG SDK (available for download here), which requires that you be comfortable programming in Java. The SDK includes a virtual BUG hardware emulator that replicates the BUGmodules exactly, which you will use to develop, test, and submit your idea for the ultimate BUG.

Not a programmer? Then enter our second-prize contest by submitting your idea for a future BUGmodule. Bug Labs has more than 80 upcoming BUGmodules spec’d and in the pipeline, but if you have the perfect idea for a BUGmodule that hasn’t been though of yet, submit it to us for a chance to win a one-year subscription to PopSci, as well as T-shirts from PopSci and Bug Labs and assorted other goodies!

Here are the details:

1. For first-prize entrants, a full description of what your BUG does (in 300 words or less) along with your BUG SDK project files should be submitted to (be sure to include the phrase “FIRST PRIZE” in your message’s subject line). If you’ve submitted your project to BUGnet via the SDK, please also notify us via e-mail notifying us of your submission. We’re looking for originality, practicality and ingenuity. Prize: one BUGbase and one each of the first four modules (GPS, camera, touchscreen LCD, accelerometer/motion sensor).

2. For second-prize entrants, submit your idea to (again, be sure to include the phrase “SECOND PRIZE” in the subject line). In 300 words or less (no attachments, please), be as specific as possible about what your proposed hardware module would comprise and what it would do. Prize: a one-year subscription to PopSci, a PopSci T-shirt and a BUG T-shirt.

3. Entries will be accepted until FEBRUARY 15, 2008 Extended: APRIL 1, 2008. Winners will be chosen and notified at the e-mail address of their submission within 30 days of the contest’s end.

4. If you have any other questions, see the full rules and regulations below.

We can’t wait to see what comes in. Good luck!

Full legalese follows (don’t worry, there’s nothing there that we didn’t already tell you in real-person-speak above).

OFFICIAL RULES Labs Build a Bug Contest

The Labs Build a Bug Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by Popular Science Magazine, a publication of Bonnier Corporation (“Sponsor”).

ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE: A BUGbase and four BUG modules
ONE (1) SECOND-PLACE PRIZE: One-year subscription to Popular Science Magazine, a PopSci t-shirt, a BUG Labs t-shirt

All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply; void where prohibited.

ELIGIBILITY: The Contest is open only to individuals, 18 years or older at time of entry, who are legal residents of the United States. Employees of Bonnier Corporation and its parent companies, subsidiaries or agents, their immediate families (defined as parents, children, siblings, spouse and grandparents), and those domiciled with any of the foregoing are not eligible.

TO ENTER: For the first prize competition, submit your proposal and BUG SDK project file for a device to be built with the BUGbase and one or all of the four currently available BUG modules via email to For the second prize competition, submit your idea for a future BUG module via email to – no attachments please. For more information on entry, visit our website at Only entries via email will be accepted (if you’ve submitted to the BUGnet community through the SDK, an email notifying us of the submission is necessary). All information provided by entrant must be complete, true and correct. Submissions to the Contest must be received by February 15, 2008 APRIL 1, 2008 in order to be eligible; entries received after that date will be deemed ineligible to win. All submitted entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned; Sponsor is not responsible for lost, late, inaccurate, incomplete, damaged, illegible, or misdirected entries. All entries may be published on the Popular Science web site, whether selected for a prize or not. Nothing in these Contest rules obligate Sponsor to publish or otherwise use any idea submission in connection with the Contest. All components of the entry must be the original creation of the submitting participant. Only non-commercial work may be submitted. Entries may not contain illegal material, or material that violates the rights of third parties. Entries may not include confidential information, trade secrets, trademarks or copyrighted material belonging to any person or entity other than the participant absent a suitable license or permission agreement (proof of which is required). Entries containing any forbidden matter or material otherwise deemed by Organizer to be inappropriate will be disqualified. Online entries will be deemed submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry.

JUDGING: A panel of judges consisting of Popular Science editors and Bug Labs employees will select the winning entry based equally upon the criteria of originality, feasibility, and the entrant’s apparent Java programming/development skills (indicating the capability to execute the winning entry). By entering, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules, and that the decisions of the judges are final and binding in all respects. Judging will be completed by March 15, 2008 and potential winners will be notified by an email sent to their entry email on or before March 30, 2008. Potential winners will be required to sign and return a sworn Affidavit of Eligibility and Liability and Publicity Release. If required documentation is not returned within seven (7) business days of notification, or if notification is returned as undeliverable, any prize will be forfeited and an alternate winner will be selected.

PRIZE AWARDS: Prizes will be awarded within sixty (60) days after winner verification. If the winner of the first prize competition is unable to execute his or her winning submission within thirty (30) days of receiving the prizes, the prizes must be shipped to BUG Labs for assistance in completing the winning entry, at which point they will be returned to the winner. No prize substitution or transfer is permitted, except that Sponsor reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value for any reason. All taxes and any other incidental expenses on Prizes are the sole responsibility of each winner.

GENERAL RULES & LIMITATIONS: By entering, you represent that: (i) your entry is your own original work; and (ii) you own or have the rights to convey any and all right and title in any material submitted as part of your entry into the Contest. By entering, you grant to the Sponsor (including Bug Labs) a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, republish at any time in the future and otherwise use your submission, along with your name and likeness, in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional or advertising purposes, without further permission, notice or compensation (except where prohibited by law). By participating in the Contest, you agree to release Sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, directors, officers, and agents from any and all liability, claims or actions of any kind whatsoever for injuries, damages or losses to persons and property which may be sustained in connection with the receipt, ownership, possession, use, or misuse of any prize. Sponsor is not responsible for technical, hardware or software failures, or other errors or problems which may occur in connection with the Contest, whether computer, network, technical, mechanical, typographical, printing, human or otherwise, including, without limitation, errors or problems which may occur in connection with the administration of the Contest, the processing or judging of entries, the announcement of the prizes, in any Contest-related materials, or that may limit prize fulfillment or a participant’s ability to enter the Contest. Submissions may not be patented by the entrant at the time of submission or in the future. Sponsor reserves the right to permanently disqualify from the Contest any person it believes has intentionally violated these official rules.

WINNER IDENTITY: For the identity of the winner(s), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope after March 30, 2008 to BUG LABS CONTEST Contest Winner, 2 Park Ave 9th Fl, New York, NY 10016.