I first became involved in computer chess over thirty years ago when I purchased my first chess computer the 'Mephisto II'
In 1982 I learnt the programming language Sinclair Basic and produced a graphical chess database for the Sinclair Spectrum 48K named 'The Chess Data System'. This enabled me to keep track of all my correspondence chess games in both BCCS and ICCF tournaments.
In 1985 I produced a computer chess magazine for about four years named 'Chess Computer World' that had subscribers from all over the world.
More recently I have produced chess sets for most of the leading mobile chess programs including ChessGenius and Hiarcs for the Palm, Pocket PC, Android, iPhone and iPad.
Now to the USB project...Not being an electronic engineer, I have always thought that it would be possible to build a full size chess board and somehow connect it manually to a dedicated chess computer. You would not believe what I have tried including bicycle brake cables connected from a wooden board to a small peg sensory chess computer.
About a couple of years ago I designed a press sensory chess board (the one I presently use with the USB project) that uses just self adhesive aluminium tape to transmit the moves to and from a Mephisto Travel Expert chess computer via six RJ45 cables. Two of the cables where used to transmit the board moves whilst the other four cables transmitted the moves to the 16 LED indicators around the board. I boxed the Mephisto into a wooden box and called it 'The Intelligent Chess Cube'.
I then read on the Chess.com forum that someone had wrote some new piece of software for the Dream Cheeky USB chess board that enabled the board to be able to use Fritz with it. I bought a Dream Cheeky board off eBay for just £1 and found that it was basically the same connections as the Mephisto 'The Intelligent Chess Cube' minus the LED connections and within a day it was connected to my vinyl sensory board.