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ChumbyChimpAndPo.jpg

Back when I got my Chumby Guts kit a few months ago, I imagined that it would be pretty funny to set up it up Teletubby style with the screen in the belly of a plushie. At the time, I didn’t have a suitable doll to sacrifice at the alter of maker fun, but like Kent Barnes, I did have the box it came in. I like the alarm clock features, and enjoy being chirped awake. Eventually, though, the box kind of wore out, and my Chumby Guts lay loose on the night table.

Sunsue heard my call for a sacrificial Teletubby and found me a Po doll. When I saw it, I realized that this one would not work, since it is smaller than the ones my daughter used to have. It does have an interesting voice box, so that will come in handy some other day. A bit later, I fell upon a Build A Bear monkey at the Duxbury Mall. In his first invasive surgery, I found the heart, bar code and a monkey voice box with a dead battery. After swapping out the dead battery, I hid the voice box in my daughter’s school bag, where it occasionally went off (ooh ooh aaah aah) as she bumped the bag. It now sits atop her social studies teacher’s desk as a warning signal for those about to get a detention.

The monkey looked like he was on a starvation diet for a couple of weeks, as his stuffing sat in a bag in the cave as waited for the right moment to do the next operation. Eventually I got tired of loose ChumGutz on the night table and got together with my neighbor, Robin. She’s pretty crafty and I figured would have some good techniques for the project. We went over and got to it. A few snips in the belly and monkey boy had gastric bypass of a kind. We hot melt glued the screen in place. Then I removed the speakers from the plastic holder and fit the circuit board inside the body behind the screen. I thought that I would have the switch loose, but left it attached over the power input and usb connectors. We re-stuffed him and he became ChumbyChimp. He is pretty happy to hang out with Po, and even gets to spend a little time with Creepy Baby.

This is the third iteration for my Chumby Guts, and I suppose that it will be a somewhat transitional situation. It would be useful to sew an old PDA stylus into his hand. That way it will always be easy to make accurate selections on the screen. I would like to put in some iMac ball speakers left over from the 50 iMacs project into the body instead of the nice little box speakers it came with. It would also be neat to add a switch to the hand with either a tactile switch or some conductive thread. I would definitely like to explore battery power, if only to add a bit of portability between locations in the house. The kitchen counter is a decent location, and with the right widgets ChumbyChimp really adds to the room.

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Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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