Posting in Design
The technology is called SpillSeal, but the final product is cheap as chips. The present suggested retail price for the washable keyboard is $40.
I saw a washable keyboard today. I even took a picture of it.
Problem is, it didn't look like anything special. It was just a keyboard.
And this was very washable, which made the HIMSS health IT conference the perfect place to show it off. You can not only use bleach or detergent, but all those special chemicals used on biohazards of all sorts.
The HP "solution engineers" who showed it to me said the technology is called SpillSeal, but the final product is cheap as chips. The present suggested retail price for the washable keyboard is $40.
HP has been showing the technology in its booths for a few months now. It stood out at HIMSS because of the nature of the environment, filled as it is with precious bodily fluids and workers who would love a clean keyboard because they know full well what germs can do.
Best of all the technology can applied to any design of keyboard. In a few months, the engineers said, they will have one without a wire in the back, just a USB connector. Plug WiFi or Bluetooth into that bad boy and you're wireless.
Or you can put it on high end keyboards, such as the $60 "hill" type I use at my office, with each hand on one side of a little hill so it feels like you're playing a virtual accordion.
You know the way people "wash" keyboards now? My good wife demonstrated a few weeks ago, when she finally decided to attack my workspace with her mad cleaning skills.
She picked it up, turned it over, and shook vigorously, It was like a snowstorm inside, with bits of old popcorn, hairs, dandruff, and what-all raining down on my embarrassed head.
Of course, she noted, that didn't really clean it. You can't clean a keyboard, she said.
Oh, yeah? Now you can.
Do you have any idea how many laptops this SpillSeal technology could save? How many teenagers? That's a two-bagger with me. I've got a teenager with a laptop. I don't want to have to buy a new PC next time he "accidentally" spills his Coke onto the keys.
Now I won't have to.
Few tech stories in the last year have given me as good a feeling as this one.
Mar 1, 2010
Check out the Seal Shield keyboards mice and TV remotes. They are the only products which are dishwahser safe and rated to IP-68 for full submersibility. The HP and Inland keyboards don't come close! www.SealShield.com
This post is being typed with an Inland flexible, washable keyboard. It can be submerged in water with the possible exception of the end of the USB cable. I paid $15 for it which I assume is the MSRP. It is designed to be a lightweight, packable, full-size supplement to built-in keyboards but a smaller version could be a built-in keyboard.
Apart from laptop or notebook keyboards this is a waste of money (for the client) remember he is charging them labour costs while doing this a lot more than a new keyboard.....
As an IT worker I usually just slide the keyboard into the recycle bin when an employee leaves the company. If a keyboard isn't working because it's dirty it just gets replaced. Does this new keyboard come dishwasher safe (obviously not for laptops)? I don't feel like washing someone elses dirty keyboard, so if I can tell them to use the company dishwasher it'll make us all happy.
Terry Thomas, I'm impressed how much work you put into recovering each kayboard. Aren't there transparent disposable keyboard protectors that could save you/clients time?
As an on-call computer tech I've had service calls to really icky environments such as automobile service stations. Talk about messed up keyboards! Metal particles, oil, grease, dirt and worse are encrusted on and in the keyboards. Often the workers complain that the keyboards are failing or not working well. I always bring along a loaner keyboard so the worker can still work while I try to bring theirs back to life. First I use the service station's air hose to GENTLY blow out whatever dry particles are inside. Too much air pressure and keys will pop off! (Eye protection is imporant at this stage.) Next I take the dirty keyboard to a sink and give it a good soaking with Scrubbing Bubbles. After a few minutes I rinse it with Distilled Water. Why not regular water out of the tap? Because there are fewer contaminants and ions in distilled water. Then I use the service station air hose to blow excess water out of the keyboard. Again, not too much air pressure. Finally I do it all again. (Just like instructions on the back of shampoo bottles - Rinse and Repeat.) But on the second go-round I use paper towels to work on the key tops. After the second distilled water rinse and air blast I pour some denatured alcohol into the keyboard. This displaces the water and speeds drying. Finally, set the keyboard out in the sun or other warm place to dry. This procedure takes only a couple minutes in total because it can be broken up into stages and other service work performed between those stages. By the time I'm ready to leave the keyboard is clean and dry so I put it back into service and test each key. BTW this works because most keyboards today do not use mechanical switches. If you were to look inside you would see a conductive rubber membrane. When a key is pressed the bottom of it presses on the membrane the mini-computer inside detects the pressure and "knows" what key was pressed then sends the signal to the computer. Because this design is quite robust my cleaning methold is well tolerated by keyboards. But I always tell the client up front that it may not save the keyboard. Most likely the same method will work on home and office computers as well. Terry Thomas PC Tech Support Atlanta, Georgia USA 404-939-6838 Skype: AtlantaTerry