Chumby

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The Chumby information device, an example of Open Source Hardware: Chumby is a powerful little device with Wi-Fi, a 3.5-inch screen and an interface that you can customize.


URL = http://www.chumby.com/ Update [1]

Remark: Its not Open Source Hardware in the strict sense of the word, the Hardware is produced by Chumby industries and proprietory. Only the Software extensions are Open Source. FNahrada 15:30, 21 March 2008 (PDT)


Description

1.

A "friendly household Internet appliance. Chumby is a concept based on the belief that some people out there would be thrilled to have access to the Internet without the need for more traditional devices. Chumby provides the end user a unique means of accessing online maps, tracking auctions – nearly anything you might want from the Internet. For about $200, this widget-using Net appliance provides you with all the Internet you’d ever want, even from the strangest locations.

What makes Chumby different from any other Internet appliance running created widgets is that it allows users themselves to create widgets to further extend Chumby's functionality. Once Chumby has been connected to a LAN, it uses a user-defined 'widget playlist' as an interactive view screen. It’s something like you might find with Apple's Dashboard feature in OS X, but on a less powerful computing appliance." (http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/print.php/3700366)


2.

"Andrew "Bunnie" Huang '97, MEng '97, PhD '02, another MIT entrepreneur, cofounded a company called Chumby to sell soft cubes, the size of a tissue box, equipped with a screen, a simple embedded computer, and a Wi-Fi connection. The Chumby, as it is called, can be used to display data from the Internet, such as Flickr photos or weather forecasts, or to tune in an Internet radio station. From the outset, Huang and his cofounders decided to make the Chumby open source so that customers could modify the basic unit to suit their own purposes. In essence, Huang has created a platform for building other devices. Huang himself has provided instructions for adding a higher-resolution screen, and more whimsically, he's posted instructions for turning two Chumbys into a remote-controlled car and hand-held controller. By making the Chumby hackable, Huang and his collaborators are creating a community of customers invested in helping with ongoing product development." (http://www.technologyreview.com/article/21495/page3/)


Review

By Engadget:

"Chumby seemed to begin life as a hackers' playground, but it has really come together into a fun consumer product that could become increasingly useful as more content and service partners sign on. The company has moved away from its notion of customizable shells as BeDazzler fodder. Chumby combines a well-executed Web interface used to configure widgets into channels, and the device's glanceable interface is like a miniature version of "push" products such as Pointcast from the mid-'90s. Chumby Industries' Web site features a virtual Chumby for watching and previewing channels that runs nearly in sync with its physical counterpart.

Channels cycle through widgets, some of which can take advantage of interaction. These include simple games and other amusements as well as some channels with scrolling content. An experimental Chat widget requires a stylus to activate an on-screen keyboard. However, Chumby's light weight can result in its touch screen being difficult to activate if the device is not positioned against something restraining it; it is unlike fixed ATMs or cell phones or PDAs that use the resistance of hands holding them. Consumers may find it easier to pick up Chumby for tasks that require using the touch screen, which could use some improvement in its calibration accuracy." (http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/07/switched-on-channeling-chumby-part-1/)


More Information

Favourable review by the New York Times, at http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/technology/personaltech/01chumby.html?