Michael Speiser

Michael Speiser '20
Cornelius, North Carolina
Digital information design
 Copywriter, Spotlight Branding

Michael Speiser finds that even though people frequently use computer keyboards, the majority don't care about the quality or ergonomics.

“That is part of the issue I'm trying to address,” said Speiser, a digital information design graduate. 

He has toyed with several keyboard designs and recently won second place in a local competition.

Called the “Innovation By Making Things” entrepreneurship competition, the event was funded through a S.C. Department of Commerce Office of Innovation grant. Sponsors were 3D Systems, the city of Rock Hill, Winthrop, York Technical College, York County Economic Development and Rock Hill Economic Development.

Speiser describes his keyboard design as basically a combination of different keyboard designs that he likes, along with some additions that either improve the ergonomics or usability. “I had the idea of what I'd like to see in my ideal keyboard for a long time, but actually turning that idea into a physical model is difficult, because everything I think makes a keyboard good doesn't necessarily work,” Speiser said. “The hardest part of the project was definitely having to move from all of the ephemeral design ideas I had to a physical 3D model.”

He hopes one day to mass produce the keyboard, but has a lot of modifications to make. “I'm not completely sold on the key layout, I'd like to make that a bit better, especially the thumb cluster,” Speiser said. “The design is very basic because I was on a tight deadline, so one of the first things I'd do after finalizing the layout is make it look better.”

Speiser also wants to take individual keyboard user's measurements of their hands and print an ergonomic keyboard that fits their hands. Going into production would also require several 3D printers, or a partner like 3D Systems.

The Pinehurst, North Carolina, resident studies philosophy and has spent thousands of hours on his keyboards or using controllers for gaming. “I once beat the entire Halo series through Reach on LASO (Legendary All Skulls On),” he said of the military science fiction shooter video game.

Speiser was drawn to Winthrop to study programming and design. “It's a great program that I didn't see anywhere else,” he said.