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.