Chumby hackers go to town

Wired's got a great article on all the diverse uses that hackers are coming up with for the Chumby, the adorable, hackable, wide-open bean-bag computer that does anything you can think of.

The Chumby is designed in a way such that its core electronics can be easily separated from its outer shell. This lets Chumby owners create that exact look they want. Some enterprising crafters have already stuffed the screen into teddy bears and footballs and even exquisitely designed wooden cases.

Carlos Camargo, an assistant engineering professor at the National University of Columbia, has taken to hacking both the Chumby's hardware and its software. His current project, which centers on constructing a Chumby-based vehicle-tracking system, will let the Chumby communicate with a cellular modem and with GPS to measure the driving habits of people in Columbia.

"The Chumby's accelerometer will be a good driving indicator, storing the mean speed and acceleration and the strong changes in the acceleration," says Carmargo, who is currently writing the source code and developing his user interface with Qt application-development framework.

Indeed, with so many sensors and potential applications for the Chumby, it's often hard to keep track of the myriad projects developers, hackers and crafters are embarking on, Maxwell says.