Experience Hands-On Innovation with The PlayLab Bus: A Journey of Frugal Creativity and Co-Creation

The PlayLab Bus is a product of the STEMBucket © program that transforms a discarded school bus into a playful-STEM lab for young learners to explore STEM subjects and turn STEM knowledge into practical applications. This bus acts as a platform for innovation, where innovators from different disciplines can bring their practical innovations to the table and promote self-sustainability, especially in rural areas. The PlayLab Bus embraces the concept of frugality, promoting sustainability awareness by repurposing used items for new purposes.

Art and Creativity

Artists in residency programs can explore new work environments with new challenges and create conceptual artwork through the mural-making project. The unique requirements of the PlayLab Bus provide an opportunity for artists to critically solve design and technical challenges and present their ideas professionally.

Self-Sustained Electricity

The modular solar power system uses flexible solar panels and a small footprint, allowing seamless integration without occupying much physical space. The pure DC power supply architecture enables a more efficient use of solar panels, providing power for appliances such as laptops, smart devices, projectors, and network/WiFi equipment. This ensures self-sustained electricity even when the bus moves to off-grid areas.

Self-Sustained Water Supply

The PlayLab Bus has a micro-scale rainwater harvesting system that collects water directly from the roof and stores it within the bus for consumption. The system is tailored to enable a self-sustaining clean water supply whenever the bus moves to rural areas. The two-stage water tank design allows for water reservation and cleaning, with water being filtered and solar-pumped into the bus.

Hotspot and Server on the Move

The PlayLab Bus serves as an internet gateway wherever it is located, closing the digital divide. It provides a virtual space for interaction, learning, exploration, and even co-working, with services like digital libraries, education portals, virtual laboratories, and training sessions through gamification to foster students’ interest in STEM subjects. The virtual spaces also include the CreativeCulture website, social media (Facebook and Twitter), and YouTube content (CreativeCulture TV).

Target Group

The PlayLab Bus is designed for teachers and students of STEM, artists in residency, research scientists in ICT, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, Interior Architecture, Creative Arts, and academics from the 8 faculties at UNIMAS and PPAU.


The PlayLab Bus is a cutting-edge mobile platform that promotes frugality, creativity, and science to encourage strategic thinking and innovative solutions. A transdisciplinary collaboration between the sciences and arts, the bus promotes and advances STEM and sustainability. With self-sufficient water and electricity, purposeful arts with murals, a community-based research incubator, and a portable ICT hotspot, the PlayLab Bus exemplifies sustainable elements in action.

Main Design and Delivery
  1. Concept The design concept of the PlayLab Bus is to create a platform for multi-disciplinary collaboration and co-creation of solutions, embracing frugality and playfulness.
  2. Playful and Frugal The PlayLab Bus is both playful and frugal, promoting experiential learning through play and using the principles of reuse and repurpose to promote innovation.
  3. Co-creation Co-creation is at the heart of the PlayLab Bus, promoting design thinking, participatory action research, and collaboration. It builds trust, creates a sense of belonging and ownership, and encourages an inclusive process from individual to collective and local to global.

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