Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chumby: The Hacker's Dream Machine

Chumby Industries makes these Chumby Devices. Chumby heralds a new dawn for open source hardware and software. The complete package is availble for anyone to customize the gadget.

The device isnt for sale yet, but the company is targetting a US$150 or less for this crafty contraption. The feature are:

* 266 MHz ARM controller (the MX21 by Freescale)
* 32 MB SDRAM running at 133 MHz bus speed
* 320x240 3.5" TFT LCD with PWM-controlled LED backlighting
* Stereo 2W speakers
* Headphone output
* Ambient light sensor
* Bend sensor (to pick up when you squeeze the chumby)
* Two USB 2.0 ports, one on the main board and one on the outerware electronics
* WiFi connectivity via a USB dongle plugged into the main board
* Circuitry to detect the presence of wall adapter power and auto-fallback to backup battery power
* Switching power supply network that can eat between 6V and 14V
* Available microphone input on the chumbilical bus
* Available SPI bus on the chumbilical bus
* Serial debug port set to 115200 8N1.

And it runs embedded Linux.

As it is, Chumby isnt targeted as a portable device. More like a bedside,
grid-powered device.

Chumby has a hardware support package that offers:

* Support for the ADXL3XX series of pin-compatible accelerometers (3-axis and 2-axis versions available)
* Up to 6 available 12-bit analog inputs
* Limited support for servo motor drivers (1-high resolution driver, and 3 low-res drivers)
* 8x 3.3V-compatible digital inputs
* 8x 5.0V-swing digital outputs
* 8x 1-A DC motor driver channels (can be configured for high or low side driving to make an H-bridge configuration), with support for motor voltages between 5.5V and 24.5V
* A small prototyping area for you to add on quick hacks

Truely, a Hacker's Dream.

Dhananjay V. Gadre


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