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This paper describes our experiences using a low-cost SoPC FPGA board and an open source RTOS for senior design projects. The Altera DE2 is a small low- cost FPGA-based SoPC system designed for educational use. It has many of the VO features typically found in a standard PC and can support a Nios soft processor core. Students developed a custom Nios processor design for the board and customized a muClinux OS to support their senior design projects.