Need some thoughts on a project...

Let me start of by saying, I am a PLC guy. I have a ton of working knowledge with PLC's and programming them, however, I have no other programming experience or knowledge really. So, i'm looking to make a project that consists of 8 to 12 Digital Inputs and about 64 to 100 Digital Outputs. When on of the Digital Inputs is triggered High, I want some of the outputs to turn on. Which ones turn on would be variable. I want to interface with a HMI or flash based interface and be able to visually move around "blocks" and based on the order in which these "blocks" are placed determine which outputs turn on and which do not. I want to be able to assign a different "Block" order to each input. So for example, I want input 1 to coincide with "Blocks" 1, 3, 4, 6, and 9 in that order and turn on the respective outputs. I want input 2 to coincide with "Blocks" 1,2,3, and 5 and turn on their respective outputs. I want input 3 to coincide with "Blocks" 4,2,5, and 7 and turn on the correct outputs for those blocks. These outputs will turn on relays which will route a signal through the realworld blocks in the order assigned to each input. The HMI or flash based interface will be for the end user to decide which "Blocks" and the order and to assign to his/her specific input. I was going to do all of this with a PLC, however the cost and the size is daunting. A gentleman at a PLC place recommended I check out Arduino. If anyone lives near Fort Wayne, Indiana, and could help me with this idea, I would definitely pay someone. Thanks for any and all help.


Does your project have anything to do with "Interactive Art"?

I have a board with 12 8-bit shift registers (96 outputs) that are capable of sinking 150mA each,
12 other I/0, and 2 more for serial port.
Sounds like it would do what you need hardware wise.
Software, you want to write your own?
Not sure what PLC is. I'm not a PC programmer.
I'm sure we could develop a protocol to download an array on the fly that would be used to determine the order of IO turned when a digital pin is 'triggered' (i.e. input pin with internal pullup resistor, reads as a 1, and reads as 0 when pulled to ground with an external switch).

Not sure what PLC is

PLC is a programmable Logic Controller. - -

It is a controller which (very roughly) given a certain state of the input lines it will set the state of outputlines. Very fast and robust. Often used in machine control e.g. food packaging etc. They also include timers and state. It used to be mainly and/or ports but ~10years ago microcontrollers were added so their functionality increased. Typiclaly PLC were connected over an RS485 bus (noise preventing long lines) today you see TCP/IP and ethernet-based propietary busses for communication.

Yes, I do believe this project would fall under interactive art. I'm looking at making a control board to turn on effects pedals for guitars.

Did you ever get this accomplished?