• University of Twente
  • 2009
  • Individual project

Evolutionary Product Development: a SolidWorks keyboard

This project started with a research into the evolution of the development of the computer keyboard. The research was a preparation for a computer keyboard redesign that suits the evolutionary product development theory, i.e. the next logical step for the computer keyboard in its development. To create the next logical step, the history of the computer keyboard was researched and the different keyboard were compared on several aspects such as functionality, promotion and styling. In this way the different evolutionary phases could be distinghuished. At this moment, the computer keyboard is in its segmentation phase, but is shifting towards the individualisation phase.

Segmentation phase: more specific kinds of keyboards

Evaluation of the product phases theory. + suits theory, - does not suit theory, ? not sure or unknown.

In this project an IDEA (Industrial Design Evaluation Analysis) was exectued as preparation for a keyboard redesign. A current keyboard was disassembled and divided into subassemblies and parts. In order to get a complete understanding of the keyboard each part was analysed on e.g. material, production method and costs.

Front side of a Microsoft keyboard, with dimensions

Back side of a Microsoft keyboard, with dimensions and clear sight on injection molding marks

Basic working of a keyboard: plastic layer with matrix and rubber domes (1), Layer to devide the plastic matrixes (2) and the second matrix that dectects a presed key because when a key is pressed the matrix point connects with the matrix point at the top layer (3)

Keyboard key analysed: dimensions and injection molding characteristics. Green: support ribs, red: mold line and injection point

The goal of this project was to create the next logical step in the evolution of the computer keyboard, based on earlier research concerning its evolution. The next step is situated in the individualisation phase, where products have a very specific purpose or personal design. In this case the next step was found in a keyboard for a specific purpose: a computer keyboard especially for users of the 3D CAD program SolidWorks. The redesign enables more efficient use of the program: in the current setting only 66% of the screen is used to view the model. With the specific SW keyboard less toolbars have to be present in the screen. The user can determine which functions the keys on the keyboard have within the program and they can be placed wherever the user wants. Note: the keyboard is meant to use beside a 'normal' keyboard, not instead of.

Only 66% of the screen is used to view the model

The final result