As a designer born in 1977, nothing was more entertaining than music when we were growing up. From cassette recorder to WALKMAN, from CD to MD, we’ve been catching the rapid pace of the advancement of audio technology. From dreaming for a quality audio device as a music lover to creating my own product as an industrial designer, I'm actively looking for excellence in music equipment.
Having enthusiasm is one thing; creating audio products is another. As a designer specializing in peripheral products, creating high-end audio is somewhat difficult for me, not to mention the high-quality audio manufacturing is an industry with a high threshold industry, there is a pool of high-tech specialists and acoustic engineers. Therefore, I chose to collaborate with Harman International, a world-renowned audio group. Harman Group is the parent company of 16 leading global brands including Revel®, AKG®, Harman/kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®, the world's leading manufacturer of audio products. Working with the Harman Group has enabled me to design a mechanical keyboard with audio, the first top-notch crossover. I’m thrilled that my avant-garde design is recognized by the Harman Group, and it’s the first time for them to collaborate with a computer peripheral brand. Rocksete permitted to use the JBL trademark worldwide as a crossover product.
What difficulties have we encountered in researching and developing the Rocksete?
ROCKSETE audio mechanical keyboard is the world's first product that combines superb audio with a high-end mechanical keyboard; it gives the product a unique look. At the initial stage of the design, the most difficult part is transforming the drawings into reality. As a designer, we must have an understanding of aesthetics, structure, materials science, and electronics. Otherwise, the beautiful concept can only stay on the drawings.
The other thing is structural problems. We have to optimize the structure of the product without destroying the product appearance. In the meantime, we need to ensure that the audio quality of the sound system is not affected plus the design and production process. We chose to craft the cavity of the sound system with aluminum die casting and the plastic outer surface, a solution of composite materials to minimize the cavity resonance and the overall weight. Faced with complex hardware and plastic molds, my team repeatedly experimented with various structural solutions and has completed 15 sets of mold in 14 months.
In addition to the overall design of the product, the audio design is another challenge to us. Harman Group is second to none in the field of audio, but building an audio mechanical keyboard is a new story for both of us. To obtain high fidelity surround sound in a limited space, we have developed a bionic sound design in cooperation with Harman, placing two full-range units on both sides, and four bass radiators in the middle of the audio. ROCKSETE is equipped with four bass radiators, and the low-frequency radiator hedging design developed by Harman to create the opera-like surround sound effect. To create a dynamic interaction between the keyboard and the audio system, we’ve developed the “Martin LED lighting,” LED lights are installed between each row of keycaps, and they are driven by the music rhythm to create different lighting effects.
To manage the materials, the textures, the colors, and to define the experience that a customer has when they touch and feel our products are crucial. Taking the red color option as an example. The red color is presented by ABS and UV paint, and the UV paint consists of a base and an outer layer; the silver part is coated with a special copper electroforming paint, it creates a metallic effect yet translucent. These exclusive paints make Rocksete.
The base of the round keycap is treated with ABS and vacuum plating process; the surface is coated by a material designed for laser engraving. Unlike regular keycaps using only black or white laser engraving material, the keycaps of Rocksete have been repeatedly treated with the Violet Laser Engraving Machine. This exquisite craftsmanship ensures the color of the keycaps last longer.
In summary, ROCKSETE has integrated a large number of technical resources, and it is a product with a brand new concept. Cooperation with a leading brand has given the product an aristocratic identity. It takes us 2 years and 10 months to transform the product design to our first full-featured prototype, making such a technology-driven product perfectly demonstrates the spirit of craftsmanship.