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The Chumby

Dan Jones
8/30/2006

7:40 AM -- My friend Tom alerted me to this cool little wireless gizmo called the Chumby, which is basically a WiFi clock-radio alarm -- with a twist.

For starters, it doesn't look like a clock radio. The self-described "hackers" at Chumby Industries say it is "soft, even kind of squishy," and you communicate with it by grabbing it or tapping it.

Staying true to its roots, the Chumby is also an open design that is fully "hackable" inside and out. Hackers can reprogram the thing and "crafters" can personalize the "skin" of the device anyway they want.

Of course, WiFi enables the device to be a little bit more ambitious than your average clock-radio. "It uses the wireless Internet connection you already have to fetch cool stuff from the Web: music, the latest news, box scores, animations, celebrity gossip... whatever you choose," says the Website.

The Chumby isn't out yet, but the developers hope that it will cost less than $150 when it does arrive on the market. I think it's a funny and cool application of WiFi that reminds me of the days when the technology was just getting started and people came up with all sorts of weird and wonderful WLAN add-ons. (See WLAN - Snacking & Hacking.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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