Meanwhile, here's a few pics.
This is the first prototype of the circuit. It's since been disassembled because of the complete redesign for version 2.
Here's the circuit board I had made for testing the USB chip from FTDI. Since they only make the chip in surface mount form, I had to design a chip carrier, so while I was at it I added in the other required parts and now have a complete module I can use to test circuits that need USB connectivity.
This is the USB board with all the components soldered on. What you can't see is the 20 pin connector on the bottom that will plug into a proto board for integration with a target circuit. In case you're wondering, the small USB chip about one-third of the way in from the left is 0.7mm square and has 32 pins. The entire board is 2 1/4" wide and 1" high. I hand soldered the entire circuit; boy that was fun.
Keep an eye on this space!