Student team melds digital device with traditional clipboard

November 06, 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Frustrated with having to juggle a clipboard and his iPhone when trying to reference an email and take notes at the same time, Kevin Merilini, an accounting student, and some of his friends set out to solve this problem of using these two office tools at the same time.

The students came up with a clipboard with a powerful industrial strength suction cup-based holder, to help productivity and hold the iPhone in place. Dubbed Clipboard+, the new product gives users the ability to use their iPhone without the difficulty of jotting down notes with old-fashioned pen and paper at the same time.

The students formed a company, QuipCo, and turned to engineering students in assistant professor Jason Moore's ME 440 class to design a more productive way of using an iPad and clipboard simultaneously with the same goal of maximizing efficiency.

The work became the students' engineering senior capstone design project, a semester-long effort where companies bring real-world problems for Penn State engineering students to solve.

Combining the iPad and clipboard took a simple flip. The Clipboad+ takes you from paper on one side to the iPad on the other but in one office tool.

The team of engineering students devised a product that is an aluminum sheet with the sides bent into channels and foam to protect the sides of the iPad when it is slid into the channels. QuipCo was pleased with the product design that the students developed and began working on the marketing and selling aspect of the project.

They pitched the project on the website KickStarter and set the fundraising goal of $10,000 to help them get the resources they needed to launch the product. They were able to raise more than their intended goal and are now in the process of getting the product manufactured, marketed and sold.

The final design they developed came after a long process of different prototypes based off of the needs of doctors and other medical personnel across many health fields at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

This idea stemmed from frustration that Merlini felt when he was trying to look up documents on his phone while using a clipboard at the same time. He wanted to create a way to use both at the same time and Clipboard+ became the solution. Putting together two modern tools with an older one has enabled efficiency in the work place and a fantastic learning experience for all of the engineering and business students who were involved with the development, creation and implementation of this project.

"After a lot of hard work, mistakes and learning experiences along the way we were able to nail down the design and manufacturing processes for Clipboard+," said Merlini.

  • The effort to create a product combining a traditional clipboard with a digital device became a student engineering team's focus of their senior capstone design course.

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated November 06, 2012