Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mmmmmm Chumby!

Chumby is a completely open system – hardware and software. The primary use for a Chumby device is to play a set of user-customizable widgets, small Adobe Flash animations that deliver real-time information. The animations also have the ability to control and interact with the low-level hardware, thereby enabling functionality such as smart alarm clocks that bring the hardware out of sleep, and physical user interface features such gesture recognition through squeezing the soft housing.

The hardware is based on a 350MHz ARM9 controller, has 64MB of SDRAM, 64MB of NAND flash ROM, a 320×240 3.5 inch touchscreen TFT LCD running at 12Hz, stereo 2W speakers, an audio output, an integrated microphone, two USB 2.0 ports, and integrated WiFi. Stock sensors on Chumby include a bend sensor for squeeze-based user interface features and a sudden motion sensor (accelerometer).

Chumby can run an SSD (As you can see from the screen snapshot above, I can easily connect from Windows via PuTTY to my Chumby). It also launches a small HTTP at boot time. I can easily add CGI scripts.

Chumby owners can selected from a large pallet of widgets via the home page. The widgets are scheduled and downloaded (over 802.11) to Chumby.

Thus far I’m very impressed; however I’ve only scratched the surface.


Andrew M said...

Interesting... a google search on Chumby and Kindle landed me here. Have you had any success making the 2 gadgets talk?

Colin Bodell said...

Indeed I can access my Chumby via the Kindle web browser. Spiffy.

Elton said...

Am I the only person who's a little surprised by the product name? Maybe having been a nerdy kid in grade school made me more likely to hear the word "chump"? =P

Colin Bodell said...

That's "Chumby" not "Chumpy" - although Chumpy would work quite nicely.

I keep intending to build a few apps for the Chumby each weekend, and each weekend I wake up on Sunday morning with a hangover.... Chumby induced maybe?

Anonymous said...

Do NOT put a battery in your chumby. We have one, put a battery in, and it made some horrible noise in the middle of the night and died. Chumby sent us a new one, however they said the battery function is not currently supported, and not to put a battery in it. Makes me nervous hooking my ipod up to it.

Colin Bodell said...

Thanks for the heads-up CJ. I've not put a battery in thus far, not seen the need to - Chumby sits atop of my coffee maker and greets me every morning with it's primary channel of seemingly random weirdness. And the weather.

I must say, stability wise I'm impressed. Never had to reboot my Chumby; never seem an app lock up and the wireless receiver pulls in a strong signal.