About – What is Baubus?

. deutsche Version/german version -> .


Baubus creates an open ecosystem of regenerative (zero waste) building bricks and boxes for kids. 

Baubus is currently in open alpha



What is meant by:

1 Open?
2 Regenerative?
3 Bricks & Boxes?
4 Open Alpha?

read it below

1 Open

= Open Source

Baubus is Open Source (Open Source Hardware). This means, that it is made publicly available how Baubus bricks are made and everybody can study and use this information for every purpose including the commercial production and distribution of the same bricks.

Open Source is about collaboration and education. It offers ways to connect with your built environment and to engage with it creatively. Baubus wants to integrate that into the play; gain new dimensions from being open source for itself, our children and our world.

+ Open to Join

The Baubus webpage is basically a catalogue of bricks and boxes. The catalogue is open. Everybody can add new bricks and boxes to it as well as produce and sell all bricks and boxes that are in the catalogue. The only two conditions new bricks have to met is that they are 1 open source and 2 regenerative. The only condition a box has to met is, that it contains only real Baubus bricks – bricks that are in the catalogue.

The only thing “closed” is the Baubus trademark. But all bricks and boxes that appear in the catalogue and fullfill the conditions above can use the “Baubus” brand.


2 Regenerative

.“Regenerative design” is a concept for a circular or waste free economy that protects the living environment. You may know it also as “cradle to cradle” design. It means to design things fit to be 100% recycled. No ressources get lost, no toxics gets transmitted into the environment. Regenerative objects can be turned back into resources for new objects of the same quality, again, again & again. Products are the resources for their constant recreation. Just like good building toys …


With being regenerative Baubus wants to:

  • save the environment and potentials of our world for the future of our children,
  • teach children and adults about regenerative design and how to do it (remember it is open source) and spread the concept of it,
  • explore new dimensions for the building blocks. How? In some cases regenerativity might be used as modularity. Think of Lego or Meccano, they provide modular bricks to create different objects and worlds. All bricks can be reused, again, again and again. Baubus bricks are reusable not only on the level of the bricks but also on the level of materials the bricks are made from. It is modular on a whole other level! In some cases – with some Baubus bricks – this modularity could be integrated into the game. Think of water becoming ice becoming water becoming ice. The recreation/recycling becomes a part. All this is possible because Baubus is Open Source. Due to its openness Baubus has the potential to educate kids about materials their reuse and recycling and add with that a new layer to the game for everybody. It makes kids fit to live in and design a sustainable future.
  • Teach open source (hardware). Kids learn to go online to learn from each other and to collaborate on the creation of their world. They learn open source.

With this approach Baubus is also an open research project, it is citizen and maker science. It asks the question: How to make knowledge about regenerative design, regenerative materials and regenerative production known, open and easy to understand and use?

Let’s create out of the play of children communication tools for a circular economy.


3 Bricks & Boxes


The first level of Baubus are bricks. A brick is determined by (1) the material(s) it is made from and (2) its shape. There are no limitations for bricks regarding shape, size or consistence, as long as the brick is regenerative, made open source and possible to use in toys for kids.

Every brick has an individual name to recognize it and also track uses of it. Bricks have profile pages in the catalogue. There you can learn about the making and possible remaking/recycling of it. Over course of time Baubus will collect all sorts of projects done with Baubus bricks and boxes and provide them as tutorials on the Baubus webpage. So on the brick page you might also find links to projects involving the brick – what to do with it.


Bricks are combined and sold in boxes. Boxes have individual names and can be recognized by them. Boxes with the same name always contain the same group of bricks (e.g. box “Mouse” always combines 4 copies of brick “Ulf”, 3 copies of brick “Petra” and 7 copies of brick “Maria”.)

You can create a new box by combining bricks that are in the catalogue. New boxes appear in the catalogue when someone is there to buy it from. Every manufacturer or reseller can introduce one new box per month.

In early Baubus the boxes will be open as well – everyone can manufacture and sell all Baubus boxes. Companies can differentiate by printing their name on the boxes, their trademarks remain closed of course. The boxes and bricks are open but it still matters, who produces them, because quality matters. So a box could say: “Baubus box *Giraffe* produced by *Zoltau*”. The original designer of a box can obligate the manufacturers and resellers to give attribution by using a creative commons license. The box would say: “Baubus box *Giraffe* created by *Alfons* manufactured by *Zoltau*”.

Some rules might be changed after some time in open negotiation with Baubus contributors and stakeholders (meritocracy). (For example: Maybe Baubus boxes could be copyright protected and only be marketed by one manufacturer. So you can create a design for a box and market it exclusively. But all bricks will remain fully open source for all the time of course and can be added to new boxes!)


4 Open Alpha

Baubus just started. It transforms itself slowly from an idea into reality. If you are interested in codeveloping it, support it, join early or whatever: Please get in touch.


Baubus was created/is a question by Lars Zimmermann and Jenni Ottilie Keppler of the Open It Agency within the OWi Project and partners with the IPO Tables project.
Placeholder image “building bricks hg” by Hannes Grobe, CC-BY

[Video] an early Baubus “study” (it is an ice cube)