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A keyboard that cleans itself

A keyboard that cleans itself

Posting in Technology

Germ-laden computer keyboards can pose serious problems in hospitals -- which is why the FDA recently approved one that sanitizes itself.

It’s not uncommon for keyboards to become the breeding grounds for bacteria and germs.  And in a hospital, where doctors and nurses alternate between tending to patients and typing up medical records, the germy computer can be particularly troublesome.

Now, however, health care professionals won’t need to worry about going home sick. In a recent press release, medical technology company Vioguard announced that it has received FDA approval for its first product—a self-sanitizing keyboard.

The keyboard, which is to be used in hospitals, automatically cleans itself by employing the germ-killing properties of ultraviolet light (UV-C). It is able to target microbes (a.k.a. germs) due to their ability to be broken down with just the right amount of ultraviolet light.

Taking on the appearance of any other keyboard, the self-sanitizing version works by automatically retracting into its own light-tight enclosure after use. Then the UV-C light gets to work—flooding the case and killing any germs that may have been left behind. A quick hand-wave in front of the motion sensor and the keyboard drawer opens, ready for use once again.

Initial testing has shown that the germicidal light was successful in eradicating 99.99 percent of the germs and bacteria that had been lurking on the keyboard.

The system may come as a relief to health care workers who sometimes worry about their own physical conditions—health care associated infections (HAIs) are a real concern in the medical world.

"Conventional computer keyboards have been identified as a key point of transmission of viruses and bacteria, especially within the medical setting,” says Larry Ranta, president and CEO of Vioguard, in the press release. “The Vioguard keyboard takes the guesswork out of sanitization efforts, reduces labor costs, and helps fight the spread of harmful and often deadly superbugs."

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Sarah Korones

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Sarah Korones is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for Psychology Today and Boston's Weekly Dig. She holds a degree from Tufts University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure