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Microsoft Patents Self-Sterilizing Touch Screen

By - Source: USPTO | B 45 comments

Microsoft filed a patent that would provide a solution for those who are concerned about all the germs populating a touch screen surface. Microsoft uses ultraviolet light to sterilize the surface of a screen.

It is widely known that devices such as keyboards and computer mice are the least hygienic places in any household. As we are replacing keyboards with touch screens, those greasy screen surfaces could become prominent transfer stations for bacteria. A patent filed by Microsoft in April 2010 suggests that an ultraviolet (UV) light source could be used to sanitize touch screen surfaces. The UV light source would be integrated into a device and would be positioned with the backlight and kill germs from the rear side of the touch screen.

The patent envisions the technology to be used not only for personal computing devices, but especially devices that are exposed to different people, such as ATM screens at banks, checkout stations in grocery stores as well as kiosks at airports. The technology is designed to be used in combination with a proximity sensor that activates the UV light source when a user is not present - and emit UV light at a wavelength that is suited to sterilize the touch screen.

There was no information in which specific products the technology could become available.

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  • 22 Hide
    DroKing , October 22, 2011 4:10 PM
    That is definitely a awesome idea but shoot don't anybody use soap bar anymore? Maybe that is just the old school in me.
  • 17 Hide
    plznote , October 22, 2011 4:16 PM
    Finally! A patent that deserves to be rewarded.
Other Comments
  • 22 Hide
    DroKing , October 22, 2011 4:10 PM
    That is definitely a awesome idea but shoot don't anybody use soap bar anymore? Maybe that is just the old school in me.
  • 3 Hide
    Pyree , October 22, 2011 4:11 PM
    Reassuring for germaphobes. I is also nice to be clean for normal people. Although I ma not really concern about it.

    Now you can steal password even easier. Just need fluorescence powder on the fingers because UV light is already there.
  • 7 Hide
    Anaxamenes , October 22, 2011 4:13 PM
    So you can work your entire vacation for free and still come back with a tan! Awesome. :) 
  • -5 Hide
    lp231 , October 22, 2011 4:15 PM
    Some cellphones have a antibacterial coating and it also kill off germs.
    Microsoft can invent something that cleans off finger prints too.
  • 8 Hide
    Parsian , October 22, 2011 4:15 PM
    drokingThat is definitely a awesome idea but shoot don't anybody use soap bar anymore? Maybe that is just the old school in me.


    no, unfortunately, there are people who f**king get out of the wash room without washing their hands.
  • 17 Hide
    plznote , October 22, 2011 4:16 PM
    Finally! A patent that deserves to be rewarded.
  • -7 Hide
    iceman1992 , October 22, 2011 4:19 PM
    but won't the user be exposed to ultraviolet light?
  • -7 Hide
    de5_Roy , October 22, 2011 4:25 PM
    this tech will take care of some of the most-used, dirtiest surfaces. nice idea.
    however, after ms patents it,
    it will get hacked and used to infect people with viruses.
    it will be used to steal atm passwords.
    criminal will use it to steal fingerprint/palmprint data.
    will cause microsoft to release an sp1.
    will cause microsoft to build a cross platform compatible touch friendly sterilizing system named microsoft touch gr8.0
    will be sued by apple's isterlizetouchscreen patent.
  • 1 Hide
    DroKing , October 22, 2011 4:27 PM
    Parsianno, unfortunately, there are people who f**king get out of the wash room without washing their hands.


    True I do that sometime if its real dirty in there -_-
  • 0 Hide
    drwho1 , October 22, 2011 4:37 PM
    I would be more interested in a self refill coffee cup.
    /sarcasm.
  • 6 Hide
    the associate , October 22, 2011 5:25 PM
    Parsianno, unfortunately, there are people who f**king get out of the wash room without washing their hands.


    Well it's not like I piss on my hands, I wash my hands BEFORE I take a leak then re-rinse after. Why would you aim your ding dong without clean hands?
  • 2 Hide
    jerreece , October 22, 2011 5:27 PM
    I'm glad they mentioned turning the UV off when a person is present. The levels of UV needed to properly sanitize the surface would not be good for a human over long periods.

    My other concern would be the life of the UV emitter. UV based systems are used in swimming pools and hot tubs in some cases, however the UV bulb itself degrades in efficiency almost immediately. And they only last so long. Would be interesting to see what they use to emit the UV.
  • -1 Hide
    nebun , October 22, 2011 5:28 PM
    UV light fades colors...anything that's hit by the light will fade quicker...time to buy new clothes more often
  • 2 Hide
    acadia11 , October 22, 2011 5:40 PM
    I had this idea.
  • 1 Hide
    lockhrt999 , October 22, 2011 6:43 PM
    drokingThat is definitely a awesome idea but shoot don't anybody use soap bar anymore? Maybe that is just the old school in me.


    I read somewhere that mobile surfaces have more bacteria than any loo surface. So a good initiative from MS.
  • 2 Hide
    makaveli316 , October 22, 2011 6:44 PM
    Finally not some ridiculous patent, that we are used to see by Apple.
  • 1 Hide
    digiex , October 22, 2011 6:56 PM
    Now scientists has a reason to declare that smartphones can cause cancer.
  • 3 Hide
    spectrewind , October 22, 2011 7:57 PM
    drokingThat is definitely a awesome idea but shoot don't anybody use soap bar anymore? Maybe that is just the old school in me.


    No. Not in the medical hospital environment, where you would think it would be used the most. You do NOT see soap. You see hand sanitizers. (They still do it in the OR areas).

    You will see (examples):
    * Calphalon
    * Avagard D
    * Purell

    Also note: Sterilizing and sanitizing a surface does NOT mean clean. It means the dirt and microbes are likely still present, but rendered neutral (dead).
  • 1 Hide
    Wish I Was Wealthy , October 22, 2011 8:01 PM
    Good one microsoft & make sure you patent it before Apple does. It's good that we see something that is going to be patented by some one other than Apple.
  • -2 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , October 22, 2011 8:16 PM
    LOL, Some dental caps turn black under UV light.. :D 

    Smile!!
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