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SLSI wanted to add additional functionality to their language lab. The system was hard wired for specific functions. They wanted to conference students together. The system had student pairing, but free-form conferencing was not available.
The final product is shown below:
The control panel actually watches what the user does and maintains the current state. Students in a conference group are shown in the 6x8 LED array. The user interface is simple: just hold a conference button and press a student button.
The board used a small, 18-pin Microchip PIC processor and some support logic and cross point switches.
The board works well in the system. Originally it was intended as an add-on, but has been made part of the standard system. The success of this project led to several future projects for SLSI. These projects have led to a new project to redesign the entire system using a PC to control the system over a network.