Congrats Rodney Reid: The Silent Keyboard Wins Reid 50 Points & a Tech Prize


Congratulations to UKSP Scholar – Rodney Reid – for competing and winning the design thinking and innovation challenge.  His  submission – the silent keyboard – was voted on by UNCF staff as the winner.  This incremental innovation solves the problem  of using a keyboard in group environments where typing can be a distraction.

No credits will be given for points this week as we encourage all UKSP Scholars to focus on the midterm.  However, please feel free to provide valuable feedback for Rodney to consider.

  1. Would you buy this product?
  2. Do you think its solving a problem?
  3. Why is this an incremental innovation?

Rodney’s Scenario: As an Electrical and Computer Engineering major, we are  always either programming a robot using MP Lab, or using Mat Lab to calculate a Discrete Time Fourier Transform. In either case a Laptop is highly recommended. Everyone has a laptop in class to use at their own discretion, some take notes and some play war craft, and the majority are typing away on Facebook messenger. This being my senior year, the classes have gotten quite small over the years and we are averaging around 10 to 12 students per ECE class this semester. So with a class that small it doesn’t take long for the noise of typing on the Keyboards to get out of hand. This worst is when the professor in lecturing and only a few are typing on their keyboards and the noise slightly distracts you from what the professor is saying. I am a big fan of Googling in class. I am always searching for PDF’s to get a better understanding of what the professor is lecturing on. In the process of doing this I find that I am the one that is being the disturbance while others are listening to the professor. It came to my attention that silent keyboards should come standard with laptops.

Rodney’s Product: Silent Keyboards

Rodney’s Problem: Keyboards are loud and distracting in classroom settings

Solution: Make the keys out of a softer plastic or possibly some type of rubberized coating.

Rodney’s Feedback: I observed four Engineers and one Psychology
major. The results were drastically different from the two majors. The four engineering student thought it would come in handy to have silent keys on a Keyboard but were more concerned about issues such as “Dell/HP battery sucks, track/mouse pad malfunctions (the one with the ball I am assuming). Overheats, loud fans, too much glare on screens, demonic possession of keyboard languages I.e. Typing in Russian while on English setting. Overheating. VGA connector burned me one day. Not enough memory. Screen cracked. Collected dust easy. Keyboard failures. Demonic
possession” The Psychology major said, “I think it’s more of a luxury item than a necessity”. She also agreed with the solution and the overall reason behind developing a product like this. Of the 5 people that I observed they all said they have experienced loud keyboards in the classroom but only 2 of the 5 found it to be a distraction. As I was doing some searching on my own to see if this product exist I found that the keyboards are usually aftermarket and very expensive. This type of design would be an incremental innovation because the product already exist but hasn’t been refined to the ultimate product it could be in having silent keys. I decided to upload a picture of the type of keyboard that would be necessary in making the laptop keyboard quieter because it gives a better idea of the texture needed to make this possible.