Lightboard project

To start i will say what i have to work with, and then what i need to do. My question is, parts will i need to look at getting to make it work.

What i have. A friend who is a programmer, and has a Arduino uno, he can make the code for what i need, and is going to make a test version of it this weekend with the parts he has, as a proof of concept. I also have the ability to solder and work with electronics, i have myself modded more then 10 original xbox's and repaired tv's, computer monitors, and built/repaired arcade machines, as well as converted them to mame cabinets. i also have pretty good woodworking, and some metal working skills, between the two of us, we can build what i need, and get it programmed. We just need guidance on the best way to go about it.

What i need to make. And what i need it to do. Will try to not make this a long story, so the short version is, my wife was in a bad car accident, and suffered a stroke and had to have a portion of her cerebellum removed, thankfully that was where the damage stopped so her personality has not changed, nor has her memory. However she does have some issues with motor control, and attention to detail with focus.

She is currently in therapy and they have a lightboard that she uses, but once she is home she wont have access to it, so i want to build one. The way it works is, it has 60 buttons that light up, and are set in rings, when a button lights up, you have to press it, the light goes off, and another light will come on in a random other location. It also has a lcd in the middle that can display numbers, letters, symbols, and scrolling text.

We know we can at least build something like this, if not with lighted buttons, then with push buttons next to LEDs, and the display i have already found ones that will work, we plan to run the software side of things on a laptop.

My question is, given the number of buttons and leds, plus the display, what is the best Arduino to start with, and what shields would i need to expand it to fit all of what i need, or would we instead multiplex multiple arduinos?

any help would be greatly appreciated.

You can make up a board with 8 parallel-load shift registers http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/SN74HC165N/296-8251-5-ND/376966 and continually sample the buttons, and 8 serial-load shift registers http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/TPIC6C595N/296-2020-5-ND/276260 to pull cathodes LOW of LEDs to be turned on, or a MAX7219 to control the LEDs.

Then a simple Uno can be used to shift data in & out and run the LCD.

Just about any arduino should be capable of this. You may need some extra logic circuitry to manage the sheer number of input/outputs but it's not a particularly big job. In fact, I'm not even sure that the PC would need to be involved.

BTW push buttons with built in LEDs are quite common. They're no more complicated than having the buttons and LEDs separate.

Great, thank you for the info.

We were going to use a PC, because the software will be adjustable for timing of the lights, if all of the rings will be on for this sequence, the sequence will also be timed, if the display in the middle will be displaying numbers, letters, symbols, math problems, or scrolling text, or will not be on this time, it will also keep track of how many buttons were missed, how fast they were hit. He said it would be easier to use a computer or maybe a tablet (but he does computer programming so he is more comfortable with that) then to try to make the arduino do it all, plus we would have to also have the hardware to allow all of those settings to be set. and i already have a laptop we can use.