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Valley Focus | Granada Hills

Students Design Keyboard Tray

May 09, 1998|EDWARD N. YOON

The students of Kennedy High School's woodworking class did not set out to build a better mousetrap.

For a class project, students were assigned to build a sliding computer keyboard tray from plans drawn by the school's computer-aided design class. The finished product came as a pleasant surprise to Kennedy drafting instructor Harvey Phillips.

"I said, 'Wow!' " Phillips said. "What the students built is much superior to some of the things I've seen in stores."

Robert Hazard, woodworking teacher at Kennedy, said what sets the student-built computer keyboard tray apart from commercially made units is its sturdiness.

Made of solid oak with walnut trim with a metal sliding mechanism, the tray can withstand 75 pounds of pressure, Hazard said.

"Ours is geared to take a little abuse while other manufacturers are advising people not to put any weight on their units," Hazard said. "Oak is an expensive wood, but it's very sturdy and will maintain its integrity throughout years of being slid out and slid back in."

Hazard said he was also impressed with the positioning of the hand rest, which is placed slightly higher than the keyboard. This design feature helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive typing, he said.

"This was something that the students thought about when they designed it," Hazard said.

Senior Kris Bullard-Wolf, 17, a woodworking student, said his favorite feature is the mouse tray, which slides out from both sides of the keyboard tray.

"That helps a lot because you have left- and right-handed people," he said.

Thus far, two prototypes have been made and another is almost completed.

A patent and plans for mass production are currently in the works, said Hazard, who added that the students are trying to sell the completed prototypes.

"Right now, we know it could be student built," Hazard said. "We're going to play it one day at a time, talk to people and see what happens."

The unit has tentatively been named the Cougar Keyboard Tray, in honor of Kennedy's school mascot.

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