Rev Hardware Accelerator Team Liberates Design with Customizable Keyboards

Rev Hardware Accelerator Team Liberates Design with Customizable Keyboards

For engineers who use computer-aided design (CAD) software, the computer keyboard can be a frustrating tool. Aside from a few small additions and short cut buttons, the keyboard we see today is the same one invented 150 years ago for typewriters. Fortunately, we have come a long way from the stiff, finger-resistant keys of the typewriter, but keyboard versatility has not.

Jean Turban Davila said that, when he was looking for a new keyboard, he was disappointed that nothing had changed since he bought his last keyboard a decade prior. In truth, computer keyboards received their latest update 30 years ago. Then, after overhearing his roommate complain about using keyboards with design software, the idea to make his own was ignited.

“In my mind, I thought I was going to buy something touchscreen, something that could display stuff, maybe it had some cool features. I really wanted to be impressed and just blown away,” said Davila.

The Prometheus Keyboard Prototype resembles the traditional keyboard to better gauge the needs of designers. (New key designs beside keyboard)

 

He took his idea to his friends: Nicolas Buitrago, Juan Valentin Garcia, George Orellana, and Clara Walton and soon after the group named its idea Prometheus and began working on its innovative replacement to the traditional keyboard design at the Rev Hardware Accelerator.

When the team got to Rev, it had already identified its target customer — designers like Jean’s roommate — but it needed to know more about how computer peripherals are made and sold. Prometheus conducted extensive customer discovery research to find the users who would buy a revolutionary keyboard and the responses indicated that the product could have a larger impact than expected. The teammates realized they could be creating an industry disruptor; what people wanted most was a fully-customizable keyboard of their own.

“I, personally, have used CAD programs before,” said team member George Orellana. “But when I heard about Jean’s idea, I thought, this is something groundbreaking because it’s meant for not only CAD, but efficiency overall using computers. It’s something that can really help push technology forward.”

The Prometheus Keyboard can provide a solution for those who want a quicker way to navigate professional software, design tools, or data entry. Unlike other systems that restrict users to repetitive movements, the Prometheus keyboard has endless flexibility. From knobs, a slider on the space bar, and switches between different tools, the possible keyboard customizations are endless. For hot-key intensive software, this could be a game-changer.

“[We hope that eventually] this hardware solution can give even more possibilities for developing software,” said Davila.

The Prometheus team members agree, they see themselves as life-long entrepreneurs using the same methodology to solve different everyday difficulties. The team members said that, with the experience their early-stage startup has gained from the Hardware Accelerator, they see themselves solving other, even larger, problems. Prometheus’ first endeavor to liberate creative computing will be on August 10 at Rev’s Hardware Accelerator Demo Day.

 

Glenn Epps contributed to the writing of this article.

Natalie Grande