Chumby controlled mechanum wheel robot

[Madox] gutted an Insignia Infocast to use with this robot. Insignia is Best Buy’s house brand and they partnered with Chumby to make their Infocast line. If you can find a used or clearance model it’s a great way to get yourself and embedded Linux board for a project like this one.

The body and wheels are 3D printed, with design files available at [Madox’s] Thingiverse page. The mechanum wheels work amazingly well, using seven bearings each for smooth operation. The body itself includes a holder for two groups of batteries. One of those battery packs powers the Chumby board while the other is used to power the four servo motors responsible for locomotion. To simplify the electronics [Madox] chose to use a USB servo drive which only set him back about $20.

We’re not sure what the USB dongle on top of the robot is used for. We’d guess it’s a WiFi adapter, since the machine sets up its own access point to act as a controller. But we thought Chumby boards had WiFi built-in. At any rate, check out the video after the break where you can see an Android phone driving the little bugger. There’s a flaw in the code that prevents side-to-side movement, it gets fixed after a video break at about 2:15 and everything is peachy after that.

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[Bunnie] mods Chumby to capture epic time-lapse video

When [Bunny] moved into his apartment in Singapore he was surprised to find that a huge building project was just getting started on the other side of the block. Being the curious sort, he was always interested in what was going on, but just looking in on the project occasionally wasn’t enough. Instead, he set up a camera and made a time-lapse video.

This isn’t hard, you can find a slew of intervalometer projects which we’ve covered over the years. But being that [Bunnie] is one of the designers of the Chumby One, and frequently performs hacks on the hardware, it’s no surprise that he chose to use that hardware for the project.

Luckily, he’s sharing the steps he used to get Chumby capturing images. He mentions the hardest part is finding a compatible USB camera. If you have one that works with a 2008 Linux kernel you should be fine. The rest is done with shell scripts. Mplayer captures the images when the script is called from a cron job. Once all the frames are captured, he used mencoder to stitch the JPEGs into a movie. See the result after the break.

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Chumby webserver using upgraded internal storage

The Chumby One has an internal SD card offering a fair amount of storage. [Kenneth Finnegan’s] came with a 1 GB card that had about 500 MB left over which he filled with a collection of MP3s. But he wanted to do more and so installed a pre-compiled version of lighttpd to act as a web server. The problem is that this binary requires a thumb drive to be plugged in because it maps the storage directory to the mounted USB folder. He wasn’t happy with that so he upgraded the internal SD card and rolled his own webserver to run from the internal SD card.

The upgrade involved going from a 1 GB to an 8 GB microSD card. In order to run the webserver internally he needed to recompile lighttpd to use a different root directory. This meant setting up an ARM cross-compiler and eventually finding a new place for the start up script. The location change for the ‘lighty’ directory leaves us wondering if a symlink couldn’t have solve the problem without recompilation. But we don’t have the hardware on hand to try this out ourselves.

But if you want to give it a shot, check out [Bunnie’s] post about Chumby-based hardware. Looks like you can head out to the big-box store and have one in hand without shelling out too many clams.

Chumby takes its first steps

nice screen image, though I doubt he'll ever catch us at that speed.

[Eric Gregory] has gone a bit mad scientist on the Chumby, turning it into a bipedal bot. We expected all kinds of cool chumby hacking, but we can’t say we saw this one coming. [Eric] points out that with a 454Mhz processor, 64MB of RAM, 2GB of expandable storage and a USB host port, the Chumby is more than capable as a robotics platform.  With the addition of a mysterious and soon to be announced sensor board, he has made this chumby into a walking biped. While anyone who can write programs for linux, or even write flash applications can create software for the chumby, [Eric] chose to port the Robot Vision Toolkit over. This opens the doors to people who can write in Basic or who have written for the C64 or Apple][. You can see a video of this guy in action after the break.

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$169 Linux tablet… sortof

The Insignia Infocast is a $169 simple media device being sold at Best Buy. Marketed as a way to share photos and run Chumby apps, hackers are starting to release packages to extend its features. [Bunnie] shows us one package in particular that allows it to be used as a web browser with an external keyboard. With an 800Mhz processor, an 800×600 touch screen, and 2 GB of memory, we can see that this is just scratching the surface of what is possible. [Bunnie] points out that some people are working on porting Android to the device, and if you really feel adventurous, you can dig into the hardware.

Chumby One becomes a 3g router

[bunnie] has taken a few moments to show us how to turn our Chumby One into a 3g router. As it turns out, there is an easter egg that allows it to communicate with certain models of 3g dongles. There’s no GUI for this trick, so you’ll be doing most of your configuration via SSH. That shouldn’t be a problem for this crowd though. The Chumby One just got a lot more appealing.

Missile hack taunts your cat

[Atlantageek] sent in a missile launcher project that he threw together. For Christmas he received a Chumby One and a ThinkGeek USB Rocket Launcher as gifts (lucky dog). Neither of these toys are “played with” in the traditional sense as much as they become centerpieces of your next hack. In that spirit, [Atlantageek] immediately wrote a widget to control the launcher via the Chumby. The side effect of driving his cat bonkers was an unexpected bonus.