Adding to what Kashif wrote in his post here: http://community.buglabs.net/kashif/posts/55-Designing-for-Bug-Labs
I wanted to add a few thoughts about the design approach from a designer's perspective.
Since BUG represents a radical departure from traditional CE design in that it is completely open source and “hackable”, we wanted these qualities to extend to the aesthetic and material choices as well. When developing the form of the product, ECCO chose to consciously avoid “styling” the BUGbase and the BUGmodules, opting instead for a clean and purposeful appearance. Each component of the BUG system might be used in ways its creators never dreamed of, so an understated and minimalist form was essential to provide a blank slate from which the user can begin exploring and building. To aid the user in his or her experimentation, the BUGmodules are color coded: Input modules are colored in a milky white. Output modules are a light blue, and Hybrid input/output modules are a midnight blue. This allows users to tell more rapidly what module they have in their hand. They are even labeled in Braille to facilitate their use by the blind. The use of milky and smoky translucent plastics in the device housings was intended to express in a visual way the metaphor of device transparency, exhibiting to the user a hint of what lies within, thus inviting the user to take a closer look inside. To this end, screwheads and fasteners are made available to the user, rather than hidden away. While most CE devices exhort the user to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” BUG invites you to BE the “man (or woman) behind the curtain” and to reshape the device according to your will.
I wanted to share with the community some of the early cool exploration that led from Peter's initial wood model of BUG all the way through to the products we have today. I'd love to hear comments from users out there in the community.