Gnomedex 08 BugLabs Contest

BugLabs was a presenter at Gnomedex last week. They have decided to run a contest that is open to all of the attendees of the conference.

The 4 best gadget ideas win their own BUGbundle (value $629). The BUG is a modular consumer electronic platform (ie. the lego of gadgets). It falls within the open source hardware category. It currently ships with 4 modules (GPS, LCD, Camera, Motion Detector), but you can submit ideas that require modules that aren’t available today (laser range finder, weather module, thermal sensor, A/V modules, teleporter, etc).

To enter, people had to submit their new gadget ideas, including gadget name and description. The entry deadline was tonight, and the people at BugLabs and Gnomedex will be reviewing the entries to choose a winner! Let’s take a look at some of the entries:

  • Wifi-enabled Bathroom Scale submitted by Dave Nielsen – This is a bug that lets me step on a scale, and automatically saves my weight to a Website. I’d use this every day. I never have time to track my weight. If I could track my weight easily, I’d be more likely to pay attention to what I eat.
  • Wifi Enabled Weather Bug submitted by John – This would be a bug that alerts you of severe weather conditions, to help save lives.
  • LifeLogger submitted by Josh Bancroft – Using camera and GPS, this is a device that I can attach to my car, my bag, or anything I choose. It would log my GPS track, take pictures periodically, and either stores or uploads them to a place where I can selectively decide to share them. This would allow me to log my life – where I was at what time, and what I was seeing when I was there. I use Twitter for this, and show my “lifelog” on the side of my blog. Some people love to log what they’re doing, for posterity, for their friends, or for whatever reason. Witness the popularity of Twitter, FriendFeed, geotagged photos on Flickr, lifestreaming apps, etc. This would automate/take it to another level.
  • GPS enabled school bus submitted by Jane Roberts – GPS on a school bus alerts parents and students of impending arrival. It will keep kids off the streets, and out of the weather while waiting for the bus. It would document the routes for those districts who don’t already do it.
  • Portable Vocal Joystick submitted by Aryeh Goretskey – My bug would be a standalone device with an LCD screen and microphone that can be trained to recognize a voice (c.f. Jon Malkin’s Vocal Joystick presentation at Gnomedex), plugged into a PC (Linux, Mac, Windows) and be recognized as a standard HID class mouse device. This will allow people who need to (or wish to) use such a device for an interface to work with multiple computers without having to install software and train it on different computers.
  • Light Sensor submitted by John – My gadget would be one that would detect amounts of light. This could detect a fire, or tell between day and night. You could even make it detect if someone tries to use your computer. This could be used for so many things. It would also be very fun, just because of having so many things you could do with it. Anything that gives off light or reflects light could be used with this.
  • Accident / Bad Driver Video Recorder submitted by Sean Canton – This is a constantly-recording device that saves 15-30 seconds of video when triggered by button or accelerometer. This could hopefully make the world a better place, especially the road.
  • Kid/Baby Monitor submitted by Steve Lacey – This would use motion detectors and cameras to detect restless kids and alert via sms; send video to mac mini that is connected to my TV and embed it using picture in picture; send audio to phone, etc… Current products are all closed, and don’t do what I want them to do. Endless possibilities for parental hacks!
  • WiFi Headset submitted by Scott Campbell – You can download software to your Wi-Fi enabled phone and use the Wi-Fi headset anywhere on the same Wi-Fi network. If you were in a Wi-Fi enabled city, you could leave your phone at home while being able to walk about the city. This would minimize the risk of phone theft.
  • Location-aware information filter submitted by unknown – This would be a location and motion sensor for setting the context of RSS / SMS / etc. filters. Social media, RSS, SMS are generating a torrent of information – we’re all familiar with information overload. And of course, context is everything. When I’m walking around in my office, I want to know what’s happening, and I can consume it. When I’m in my car, don’t bother me with the irrelevant! Knowing where you are allows you to tune what kinds and how much information will be sent to you.
  • WiFi School Bus Monitor submitted by Alex Murdock – I’d make a GPS with a camera that when the bus gets to a bus stop, it takes pictures of the kids that get on at that stop and sends the pictures to the parents of the kids that get on at that stop. This would stop kids from skipping school or not taking the bus when they are supposed to go to school. I know most parents want to know where their kids are at all times. This would just notify them if their kids are on the bus.
  • Running Man submitted by Daryn Nakhuda – Use accelerometer and GPS modules to track the path and steps/rate of a run or walk, which could then be uploaded via wi-fi and mashed with Google Maps. This would be like a cross between Nike and iPods on steroids.
  • i-Doorbell submitted by Mike Koss – The i-Doorbell consists of a wall-mounted BugLabs base with the LCD, Camera, Motion Detector, Microphone and Speaker (TBD) modules. When a visitor arrives at the front door, the i-Doorbell welcomes them, and takes a photo. They are invited to announce themselves, and leave a brief audio message. If someone is home, the interior doorbell is activated. If not, an SMS message is sent to the owner, as well as an email with an embeded image of the visitor. For homes with an electric strike lock, the i-Doorbell can be used to scan a 2-D barcode (e.g. a QR Code) from the camera. When a valid
    code is presented, the door can be unlocked (codes can be activated to limited periods to allow visitors or vendors to have limited entry). One device can be used to replace conventional door camera, intercom, AND card reader. Yet allows much more flexible guest access and security to a home or business.
  • Taser Mate submitted by Kurt Padilla – This will sense electric fields from deployed Taser or stun gun device. It will send time-stamped location data to authorities. It may also connect to a heart monitor. This will get help to people using Tasers for self-defense faster, or gets help to Taser victims faster. This data, as well as data from the heart monitor may be useful in court, not to mention that an imminent heart attack as a result of Tasering can be preempted.
  • TimeLapsr submitted by Jess Martin – This is a device for creating time-lapse videos composed of still images from either the built-in camera or your own DSLR. You can set up the TimeLapsr anywhere, and generate a timelapse video on the fly. The device can be set to be activated by motion detector, so you only catch the good stuff. You can use the built-in 2MP camera, or utilize the USB interface to take pics directly from a high-end DSLR. Once the images are taken, the BUGbase’s MPEG4 encoder can create the video immediately. This gives you a one-touch solution for creating time-lapse videos, but is also highly customizable using a high-end camera if desired. And why not tag the video with GPS info for fun? It can playback recorded timelapses using MPEG4 decoder. This would have more uses than you can list – home/shop security camera, artsy timelapse video creator, observe consumer behavior in public settings, timelapse a sunset/sunrise, in-vehicle road trip timelapses, etc.
  • Universal Off Switch submitted by Daniel Bartholomew – The Universal Off Switch utilizes the BugBase, and the Touchscreen, and Electromagnetic Pulse modules. Whenever you’ve had enough of the technology around you, just press the “Pulse” button and *poof* all electronics within a 10 foot radius of you instantly and permanently turn off. Have you ever been in a crowded bar where the music is too loud? Or that oh-so-trendy store in the mall where there are like 1000 TVs blaring? Or at a restaurant where some idiot is on their cellphone right behind you and won’t shut up? Well, now you can do something about it.
  • Personal Security System submitted by Jeff Thomas – This is a Motion Sensor combined with camera (with screen for later playback/review). Anytime any movement occurs, record. Place this in the car, or anywhere you want to be protected (your personal tree house for the local kid’s club ;-). Any detection of movement is recorded with maybe a 10-30 minute loop of most recent data stored. If a car is broken into, or hit, the incident is recorded. When you return to the car, you have captured the incident. A car is the most obvious, but it can be used elsewhere (like treehouse!)
  • Web-A-Sizer submitted by Beth Goza – This would be a companion unit for Webpotatoes who have a hard time leaving the couch or desk for fear of missing something. This unit can be set to either display or “read” tweets, IMs, e-mail, RSS feeds and any other bit of web info that the potato would normally need to be glued to his/her screen to keep up with. There would be several choices for voices or display fonts, and the unit could sit cozily alongside various exercise equipment. Installing Televisions in gyms in the 90’s has proven hugely successful for getting couch potatoes off their arses and into the gym. Now we need to get the army of Webpotatoes moving, and bring sexy back (or at all) to Technophiles everywhere.
  • EyeTrackU submitted by Jeff Norris – This will take photos and report GPS location, send to Web and map out where you spend most of your time. Send updates to tweets, read other EyeTrackU users to network in person. Build a real social network with humans. Meeting people in person and sharing ideas in the same area of the country is quite difficult, but on a common system like EyeTrackU , people can meet and work together and track where their best areas to share are.
  • BikeBuddy submitted by Cassie Wallender – Today’s urban biker is more often then not, eventually going to end up in some sort of accident with a car. Anyone who’s bicycled around Seattle can tell you. Unfortunately, when it comes to proving who’s at fault, it’s often one person’s word against another. The more unbiased data you can have in situations like these, the better. BikeBuddy will automatically turn itself on when in motion, and the built in camera and GPS will track where your bike is, how fast it’s going, and the conditions around you. As long as it’s in motion, it will take a photo every 4 seconds pairing it with GPS coordinates. It can do this by emptying it’s earlier taken photos constantly as well. If you get into an accident, you would tell it to stop, and have all the most recent photos and location information at your disposal. To protect yourself while you’re trying to protect the environment. Imagine having a picture to prove that the light you went through was green, while the car that hit you was going through a red. Case closed. BikeBuddy FTW.

Wow! This is going to be a tough choice. There are some great gadget ideas here! What do you all think? Which is your favorite, and why? More importantly, what device would you design?