The Pennyworth Project

Creating Context-Aware Tools for Everyday Use

The Pennyworth Project is a non-profit organization focusing on the creation of tools and technologies that allow developers and end-users to reap the benefits of context-awareness in software and devices that solve everyday problems for everyday users.

We approach this task by focusing on three major activities:

  • Employ traditional research methods to better understand context and users in a theoretical sense.

  • Create & distribute open-source tools and technologies for end-users that demonstrate the benefits of context-aware technologies. We use their feedback to refine our understandings of context & users as well as improving our software and devices.

  • Assist third-party developers create context-aware products.

These activities are driven by the belief that in order to make context-aware tools feasible and effective in real-world environments, researchers must collaborate with end-users and independent developers to create a robust platform that supports such technologies.

The Pennyworth Platform

The project's major initiative is the development and distribution of the Pennyworth software. Pennyworth is a context-inference engine that employs sensors and machine learners to generate automatic predictions about the user's current context. Pennyworth is a Mac OS X application that was originally developed by Chris Karr and Darren Gergle at Northwestern University. The original application has been a technical success, enabling the creation of a variety of context-aware applications in the personal productivity, home automation, and communication spaces.

We are currently working to bring this platform to Windows as an application called Jarvis. Furthermore, we are also exploring the options to port the system to a variety of mobile and embedded platforms.

Acknowledgements & Support

The Pennyworth Project has been generously supported by the following groups:

If you would like to contribute to the project, please send us an e-mail.


In order to encourage the widest-possible adoption, unless otherwise noted, all the software distributed on this site is available under a BSD license that permits reuse in both open-source and commercial applications. The content, documentation and other written materials is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution license.