Silicon Valley is abuzz with news of a just exiting stealth start-up called Bug Labs. Bug labs is creating open source mobile hardware components and the tools to work with them. From their blog:
So what is BUG exactly? It's Legos meets Web services & APIs. Imagine being able to build any gadget you wanted by simply connecting simple, functional components together. Now imagine being able to easily program, share and connect these gadgets in interesting ways. In essence, we're building an open source-based platform for programmers to build not only the applications they want but the hardware to run it on.
According to the Silicon Valley Insider blog, Bug's initial target is DIY gadget hobbyists, but:
"Bug's long-term commercial success will likely depend more on how useful their lego-like mobile gadget is to companies looking to build hundreds or thousands of devices based on its platform."
We are currently exploring the linkages between the DIY movement and small business - and we are finding a number of examples of DIYers buiding small businesses based on DIY skills or experiences. We are also looking at the growth of small manufacturing firms in US. Bug is an interesting potential illustration of both trends.