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FDA Approves Self-Sanitizing Keyboard

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the clean-zone dept.

Hardware 185

jfruhlinger writes "Deep down, most people know that the germiest thing they touch all day is the thing they're touching all day: their keyboard. But what, if anything, can be done about it? A couple of former Microsoft hardware guys have launched a keyboard that sterilizes itself via ultraviolet light. While the FDA has signed off on it, tests show that the UV only kills about two-thirds of the germs living in it, and that it still needs to be cleaned by hand."

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VLAD FARTED (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592866)

can this keyboard sanitize one of lockwood's farts? i doubt it. and if reza sat on it it would probably break.

Can't wait to see... (4, Insightful)

doug141 (863552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592870)

the UV tolerant bugs evolving on this thing.

Re:Can't wait to see... (4, Insightful)

Jake73 (306340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592922)

Why use UV? Why not build a waterproof keyboard that gets sprayed with a disinfectant each time it is retracted? It could be quickly dried and the disinfectant recycled.

For a lower-cost keyboard, I could see UV being an advantage. But for $900, you could do much better.

Re:Can't wait to see... (4, Informative)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592970)

Just make it with the same antibacterial metal that door handles in hospitals are made from. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimicrobial_copper-alloy_touch_surfaces [wikipedia.org]

Seems to be a tried and testing technology that works well.

Re:Can't wait to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593020)

There are already keyboards made of antimicrobial plastics, I know, because we use them.

Re:Can't wait to see... (4, Informative)

milkmage (795746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593100)

waterproof, sealed, dishwasher safe, antimicrobial keyboards.
http://www.sealshield.com/ [sealshield.com]

$149 with a touchpad vs. $900 because it comes with lights?

Re:Can't wait to see... (4, Interesting)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593626)

Not fit for purpose.

The application here is designed to kill MRSA type bugs within 90 seconds and be ready for use.

The lights it comes with will make you blind very quickly, hence the enclosure.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593812)

But is it FDA approved? Thought so!

Re:Can't wait to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593154)

There are already keyboards made of antimicrobial plastics

Not quite. There are keyboards made of plastic with imbedded poisons. These wear out over time and there are just as many studies showing they are a hazard to users (cancer) as show they reliably kill bacteria.

Re:Can't wait to see... (5, Insightful)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593102)

That is exactly what I was thinking. All metals have significant antibacterial properties in pure form due to electron freedom. Stainless steel is similarly naturally antimicrobial.

Since they are using UV, I hope they had the good sense to use a titanium dioxide finish on it as well, since that massively boosts UV efficacy. Actually titanium dioxide has the ability to actually clean small quantities of finger grease and dirt from the surface as well.

The best approach would use a micro spattering of TiO2 (think polka dots smaller than most bacteria) on stainless steel or copper alloys with waterproof keys and construction. Once a month, throw it in the commissary dishwasher to remove dirt and grease which give the little germs homes.

As others have pointed out, the price for this model is ridiculous as well.

Re:Can't wait to see... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594110)

Anybody know can I get stainless steel keycaps for my model M?

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593126)

It looks like the critical thing in those alloys to make them anti-microbial is copper. So, in other words, copper keyboards. I'd complain that, if it's actually that effective against microbes, it might slowly poison humans as well, except that the water pipes in my home are made of copper, so I doubt that it would contribute very much to any copper poisoning I might be experiencing. As far as it being a tried and tested technology that works well, the article you linked to seems to indicate that the jury is still out.

I think what we really need is some sort of reasonably standardized detachable membrane keyboard mat that can easily be taken out of laptops, keyboards, etc. Something that sits over the actual electronics, but can be taken off (without detaching a hundred or so keys and fiddly plastic clips), then washed, maybe even in a dishwasher. The problem is, that's probably pretty hard to implement for very little benefit. You'd probably have residue from soap or calcium buildup, etc. on the contacts in short order. Plus, no-one would ever get around to cleaning it anyway. Still, it would be nice if someone started making keyboards so that it didn't seem like they're actually _designed_ to catch crumbs and trap them forever.

The keyboard from this article seems to be just a gimmick made to appeal to well to do germophobes. The same people who buy ionic air purifiers. Note that this doesn't mean that I don't think ionic air purifiers work. They kinda sorta do, just like these keyboards kinda-sorta sanitize themselves. It's just that the net health benefits of either are going to be practically nil for your average person.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593562)

Copper alloys. Copper alone is prone to corrosion... though I suppose manufacturers might like a keyboard that rusts after a few years. You could use silver instead, which is also an effective antimicrobial, and less corrodeable, but pricier.

We have laptops with easy-swap keyboards at my workplace. Said workplace is a school, and the amount of keys pulled off by vandals accounts for a significent part of the IT team's workload. Easy-swap keyboards are a requirement, just due to how often someone utterly destroys a keyboard.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594046)

Copper alone is prone to corrosion... though I suppose manufacturers might like a keyboard that rusts after a few years.

But with copper it isn't a problem like it is with iron. When iron rusts, the rusted part expands and flakes off, exposing the next layer so that it can then rust too. The process continues until the whole thing disintegrates. With copper, on the other hand, the corroded outer layer turns green but remains intact, so the item doesn't actually deteriorate.

Re:Can't wait to see... (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593266)

Or, for added bling, silver plating. Perfect for Apple products!

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593042)

Why not build a waterproof keyboard [...]

If they made a waterproof keyboard, then they would lose the majority of their business.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593746)

Try to track down and check out one of the '80s-'90s era HP industrial keyboards. The tactile feedback sucked, but they were sealed units that could even be spray-washed. You needed sealed units to survive the shop-floor environment for any length of time.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593762)

Of course you'll have to do some serious adaptation to get the proprietary TTY and workstation cables to interface with a PC. The point is, there have been designs that were easier to keep clean in dirty environments.

HP used to make great industrial-grade hardware before they focused on the commercial market. Maybe they still do -- I haven't seen their latest industrial equipment, and a lot of industry just seems to shrug and replace keyboards often instead.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

lc_overlord (563906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594034)

Or better yet, make one that would allow me to put it in my dishwasher once a week, that would both clean it really well and keep the germs away.

Re:Can't wait to see... (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592926)

That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Of course, that which doesn't kill the bugs makes them stronger, too. So will the stronger bugs will make me ever more disease resistant, or just kill me?

Re:Can't wait to see... (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592952)

That which doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Of course, that which doesn't kill the bugs makes them stronger, too. So will the stronger bugs will make me ever more disease resistant, or just kill me?

They'll first have to get through your tanned and leathery hands.

Re:Can't wait to see... (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593002)

I'm pretty sure we don't have to worry about our meager human-produced sources of UV light providing the evolutionary niche for UV resistant super bugs. There's this thing called the sun that puts out a lot of UV light of its own.

Re:Can't wait to see... (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593398)

The sun puts out of lot of UV, but the UVC which is used as a germicide is almost entirely blocked by the atmosphere.

Re:Can't wait to see... (2)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593476)

And only UV-A reaches earth and gives you sun burn.

The Earth's ozone layer blocks 99% UV. Of that, 99% is UVA.

Its the UV-B (0.001% of UV that hits earth and reaches the surface) that causes damage on a molecular level. This is bad for big molecules like DNA.

Cells already evolved a repair mechanism for dealing with UV-B to deal with the meagre levels that does reach the surface.

UV-C is even more nasty than UV-B and none of that reaches the Earth's surface at all

These lamps are pumping out UV-C and UV-B to disinfect. So the cells ability to repair is completely overwhelmed... A bit like having a fire extinguisher to fight a pyroclastic flow...

So, no we don't have to worry about cells evolving, but not because the human-produced lamps are 'meager'.

Re:Can't wait to see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593880)

So what? Do you fear the daylight spreading vampire bugs?

$900?! (4, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592884)

It's $900?! Geez.. Why don't I just buy new keyboards every 3 months instead

Re:$900?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592930)

Environment....?

Also, this idea is the ultimate laziness tool. It should be avoided.

Re:$900?! (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592964)

But also, one can get a UV sanitizing wand for as little as $10.

Re:$900?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593110)

Hell, for that amount, buy a new one every week. My last keyboard and mouse were Logitech and cost $20.

Re:$900?! (2)

mrjb (547783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593768)

Every three months? At 900 dollars you can get 900 silicone keyboard protectors [ebay.com] which will give you a clean keyboard every DAY for nearly the next 3 YEARS. And here's an other crazy idea: Silicone is more heat resistant than bacteria. Perhaps you don't want to toss away those silicone covers in the bin after a day, but sterilize them and re-use them.

Re:$900?! (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593968)

Yes, and $900 could pay for a LOT of doctor's visits too, so I'll just keep the old keyboard.

Re:$900?! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594122)

It's $900 because it's FDA approved and they want to sell it to governments.

Next up: $3600 toilet seats with UV sanitizers.

Re:$900?! (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594162)

I'm not familiar with any environment or department which even suggests an FDA approved keyboard, much less mandates one. I could see an Underwriter's Laboratory approved keyboard, as they handle safety evaluations for electrical and electronic items in the US.

But think of the market potential if they can buy enough Congressmen to make these mandatory for hospitals and doctors offices, or even better yet, convince the INSURANCE companies to mandate them to minimize the risk of malpractice lawsuits.

Ah, they'll find a way to get you to part with that $900 yet...

Re:$900?! (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594322)

I don't know about you, but I don't think my "boys" like that much UV...

Who cleans their keyboard? (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592888)

Surely it's just exercise for the immune system?

Most folks seem to have had a white keyboard, seen how filthy it becomes over time and (instead of cleaning the damn thing) resolved to use black ones in future.

That said I did used to clean the key covers for my old Model M with vodka every once in a while.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (3, Informative)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593016)

The black ones turn just as gross: Take one apart sometime and have a look inside.

The wife's WoW-playing machine slowly developed some issues with the W and 2 keys on her fancy Saitek keyboard. It was really pretty nasty in there. Some scrubbing bubbles [scrubbingbubbles.com] for the external plastic bits, and a bit of Deoxit [caig.com] on the Mylar membrane switches, and she's got people asking her what she changed because her DPS went through the roof.

I take apart my favorite keyboard (an old, heavy, squishy white NMB that I really like the key-feel of, Model M be damned) once every year or two and give everything but the keyswitches a good wash in the dishwasher. It's been a good friend for nearly a decade, despite the occasional spill or cigarette ash or the constant bombardment of smoke residue, and I want to keep it around. (The keycaps were worn smooth long ago...)

So, yeah: I clean keyboards. Time is money, but money can't always buy a keyboard that I actually like. It's more of a functional thing than a spastic reaction to the obvious bacterial flora that obviously must be living on it, but whatever the case cleaning it helps me type in ways that keep me happy.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593430)

The black ones turn just as gross

Well obviously they get dirty to, they aren't magic... but you have to go out of your way to see it. The point he was referring to which you missed is that by getting a black keyboard you don't see filth.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593034)

That said I did used to clean the key covers for my old Model M with vodka every once in a while.

I'd rather leave the keyboard alone and just disinfect my insides every so often - although I prefer gin rather than vodka.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (1)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593136)

i remember at one place I worked I loved my keyboard , but it eventually became so grimy they forced me to throw it away and get a new one. Hey I was only one who used it!!!!

My last job I did a lot of ProTools editing on computers shared by all the audio team. We kept hand sanitizer next to the computer, but it still would get grimy. When I got bad I would just disconnect the KB and get some q-tips, tissues, and denatured alcohol. KB would clean up real nice and the alcohol evaporates fast so even if I get some inside no damage.

At home I'll clean my keyboard now and then if it gets bad, but like others said "what doesn't kill you makes you strong" and keeps others off my computer.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593214)

The hand sanitizer probably is most of the grime. It also doesn't work well but, by any means, enjoy your superbug keyboard.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593474)

Alcohol works very well, that is why there is little risk of bacteria developing a resistance to it.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593584)

Alcohol works very well, that is why there is little risk of bacteria developing a resistance to it.

Even the yeast that make the stuff actually get killed by it.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (1, Redundant)

Clarious (1177725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593456)

I am not a doctor, but IMHO, most of the bacterias on the keyboard of your personal computer are _yours_ bacterias, meaning they came from your body, your sweat and you are used to it. So I don't think they will do much harm to yourself, unless your immune system is borked somehow. Of course, a dirty keyboard is still need to be cleaned, so it won't look too bad, or become a colony to bad germs.
And yeah, this only apply to your personal keyboard, mean no one else but you touch it. Or maybe keyboard sharing between family members, your body is more resistant to their germs.

Re:Who cleans their keyboard? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594126)

That said I did used to clean the key covers for my old Model M with vodka every once in a while.

Was the vodka 'recycled'?

Editors?!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592890)

The fuck?

So... (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592894)

So is this going to kick into the new phase of products that help create resistances like tricloscan [nih.gov] does [liebertonline.com] now? And I'm being lazy, there's already a few hundred studies on the links of this. I'm still waiting for people to get it through their head that either we're filthy dirty creatures, living in a filthy dirty environment. And if you're going to sanitize an area, you need to be 100% sure you're getting everything. Otherwise you're simply kicking into darwin mode, and promoting survival instincts for various 'bugs'.

Re:So... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593010)

I'm still waiting for people to get it through their head that either we're filthy dirty creatures, living in a filthy dirty environment.

Or?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594158)

I'm still waiting for people to get it through their head that either we're filthy dirty creatures, living in a filthy dirty environment.

Or?

The other option obviously failed to adapt, and died.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593072)

there is a difference that you're ignoring here. You're talking about an anti-bacterial drug resistance, which is a terrible, tough thing to deal with. Those fundamentally target only anti-bacterial cells based off of the certain cell structure. It means that it's very effective at killing only the bad cells, and it leaves our bodies alone. UV (and say, alcohol based hand sanatizers) is a very powerful anti-bacterial, because UV radiation is very damaging at the cellular level, regardless of whether or not it is healthy. This is fine. We cannot use these treatments to help keep us healthy internally. It would be like using bleach (also very effective against germs) inside our system. So lets uses these external systems which would destroy us internally, and keep the hardcore antibiotics for when we actually get very sick.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594558)

> It would be like using bleach (also very effective against germs) inside our system

Amazingly, some people seem think that's a god idea :-/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_Mineral_Supplement

Grammar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38592898)

Good to know, but it took me three or four times to understand the first sentence.

This is meant for the health services industry. (0)

Gazoogleheimer (1466831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592948)

This is meant for hospitals, not offices. $900 is justifiable. Who do you share your keyboard at work with in other situations where it's an issue?

Re:This is meant for the health services industry. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593176)

It makes sense that these are meant for hospitals. Anything that can be done to improve the sanitation there is a good thing.

I've been using the same keyboard for over 10 years now. I shudder to think how germy it is. Mostly I just turn it upside down and whack it to get the Cheetos crumbs out. Occasionally I use alcohol to clean off the grime, looks like it's about time to do it again.

Re:This is meant for the health services industry. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593426)

hospitals should just use a keyboard cover and the cleaning lady should clean that with disinfectant.

900 bucks buys like all the keyboards in the hospital. but buy a 100 fancykeyboards at 900 a pop..

Re:This is meant for the health services industry. (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593556)

I've never seen a keyboard cover that's as easy to use as just a plain keyboard. Also it's better to have continuous cleaning. Apparently the keyboard retracts into its UV lit box whenever it is not in use. Waving your hand over it causes the keyboard to pop back out. If they start selling the price will probably come way down. Under $200 a pop I imagine. Still expensive but affordable in the right situations.

Re:This is meant for the health services industry. (1)

aaronb1138 (2035478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593190)

That kind of reasoning is part of the JUST PLAIN STUPID kind why healthcare is overpriced.

sale like animal for free offers (-1, Offtopic)

zica77 (2545982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38592950)

http://www.saleanimal.com/ [saleanimal.com]

so wait (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593024)

keyboards can be cleaned? damn.

Re:so wait (1)

tonique (1176513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593320)

Yeah, that's my solution: never clean the keyboard. Well, ok, I perhaps rattle it upside down once a year.

Re:so wait (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593902)

Like most people. I only ever upend my keyboard when there is a stable stuck under a key.

If cleanliness is the goal, surely a traditional keyboard is completely the wrong design. Touchscreen would be ideal and easy to clean with an inexpensive wipe. Who requires a high level of cleanliness but uses a keyboard enough that a traditional keyboard is required? Do neurosurgeons have their personal assistants 'take letters' during surgery?

But are those germs dangerous? (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593062)

"...While the FDA has signed off on it, tests show that the UV only kills about two-thirds of the germs living in it, and that it still needs to be cleaned by hand."

Given that we as human beings are full of germs of some kind (especially on the skin), I wonder whether the germs on these keyboards are germs one should worry about.

Are they dangerous?

My answer: Not really, because no epidemic has ever been reported as having had its genesis from an un-cleaned keyboard. I have a feeling that these keyboards will appeal to clean-freaks mostly.

Re:But are those germs dangerous? (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593146)

I don't know about that. I would suggest that spending to much time in front of a dirty keyboard has led to an epidemic of obesity, social awkwardness, and unnatural obsession with Natalie Portman. That's just apocryphal, of course.

Re:But are those germs dangerous? (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593350)

Agreed, this kind of product is exploitative of people with irrational phobias. These individuals need to realise that every surface in the average office is covered with other people's sweat, urine, semen and maybe blood. Dangerous? No. Gross? Only if you think about it too much.

What isn't safe is living in a germ-free bubble.

Re:But are those germs dangerous? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593564)

Given that we as human beings are full of germs of some kind (especially on the skin), I wonder whether the germs on these keyboards are germs one should worry about.

Are they dangerous?

My answer: Not really, because no epidemic has ever been reported as having had its genesis from an un-cleaned keyboard. I have a feeling that these keyboards will appeal to clean-freaks mostly.

This is for use in hospital and medical contexts where there will be patients that have weakened immune systems due to injury or disease and where you can find really nasty stuff like drug resistant bacteria. Minimizing the bacteria on surfaces touched by medical staff who may subsequently touch patients will probably reduce the number of people that get infections while in the hospital. If it really does work effectively, it's worth $900 per keyboard when you consider the costs of keeping someone in intensive care for a week or two to get them treated for an infection.

"and that it still needs to be cleaned by hand" (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593080)

wait do regular keyboards need to be cleaned?

I thought you were supposed to just buy a new $7 keyboard when it got too gross to use.

Re:"and that it still needs to be cleaned by hand" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593116)

News at 11?

Hooray! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593138)

I can finally stop wrapping my keyboard in Saran Wrap!

Ask Slashdot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593150)

This would have been better, and more entertaining, as an Ask Slashdot: How Do You Clean Your Keyboad?

Shall we begin?

My enormous old Fujitsu M-copy is given a stern shaking each morning and a quick wipe with diluted spray cleaner. (Fantastik right now, maybe?) Takes little time and makes the heavy brush scrubbing closer to annual events.

A cafe I used to take care of had a keyboard with a full silicone membrane as springs and seal. I used to just pop it apart every few days, hose the key section und sililcone in the sink, then shake out back.

Talk about pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593162)

A much better solution: http://store.sealshield.com/true-type-keyboards-c28.aspx

Keyboard dirty? Throw it in the dishwasher. Works great and doesn't cost much more than a regular keyboard.

Sanitary spec (3, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593182)

Er, are these keyboards sperm-resistant? I don't want to know, my, er, friend, does.

Re:Sanitary spec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593998)

Don't worry, you can't get pregnant this way.

obligatory XKCD (3, Funny)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593186)

is obligatory [xkcd.com] .

Re:obligatory XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594304)

Your sig is appropriate here =P

Why does the cleanliness of a keyboard matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593208)

Are you sucking on your fingers or something? Do you not wash your hands before eating? So there are bugs on your hand, your point?

I use a 1992 Model M (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593228)

you know what keeps a keyboard clean

wash your fucking hands once in a while!

I "wash" my vintage murder weapon once every couple of years, my wife's standard membrane shit gets replaced every year if not sooner (really what does a decent modern keyboard cost today, like 10 bucks at the local computer store? 3 bucks for a shitty one?)

Its really not that difficult people, your computer will function with a keyboard that did not come stock with it.

Re:I use a 1992 Model M (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593416)

That's exactly what I do. Wash hands.

Only Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593234)

..can be so paranoid. The real health risk from keyboards is negligible for 99% of people (those who have a proper immune system).

Re:Only Americans (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593502)

We're talking about something for use at hospitals. Guess where those immune deficient 1% you mention are likely to be...

Perfect UV 'cleaner'? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593238)

Perhaps someone with enough know-how can chime here with something I've always pondered. There's a range of products which rely on UV light to kill bacteria, mold, viruses etc. Unfortunately, many of these products are underpowered such as this one (I can't say for sure, but some of the reviews don't seem great):
http://www.amazon.com/Verilux-CleanWave-VH01WW4-UV-C-Sanitizing/dp/B0018A330K/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1325745037&sr=8-4 [amazon.com]

My question is how much more powerful can we make these. I understand there's a safety issue, but ignoring that, what kind of wattage could one go to to use on beds, chairs, carpets, cupboards, even sinks and food areas.

Would a kilowatt or two for one of these 'wands' do a good enough job, and not set the house on fire? Would it also clear up dog/cat wee for example? It would be great to have something like this to avoid using liquids/bleach or throwing out the item, especially for pet owners like myself.

Re:Perfect UV 'cleaner'? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593326)

its not really power its wavelength...

A germicidal bulb will start burn your skin and eyes you before you could fart, and those are little 10-20 watt florescent models with quartz tubes, prolonged exposure will blind you and start to really screw up your skin.

which you really dont want spread all over your keyboard, where most geniuses couldn't find the freaking return/enter key without staring at it for a good 45 seconds

I powered a small 15 watt germacidal bulb that was intended to be used buried inside of a pool filter with a tube tester powered by a 9 volt battery, and though it was just enough to make it glow a little I saw a BAR of purple for the half of the day ...

yes these things are 90% placebo, and yes serious versions do exist, but you wont see them cause if you did you might as well be staring at the sun for 2 hours exept all you would see is a dull glow

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germicidal_lamp [wikipedia.org]

Re:Perfect UV 'cleaner'? (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593404)

Yes I know these things may be dangerous, but some consumer products (e.g. heavy duty rust removers) have hydrofluoric acid in them (yes, that's fluoric, not chloric, and yes you can buy it from town). The potential risk may be outweighed by the benefits if the wearer wore special glasses, and there was a clear way that points 'down' (e.g. this product [amazon.com] .

If that's not good enough, then it could even detect if there wasn't a surface within an inch or two of the device and would then automatically shut itself off.

I just think these things could be magic for cleaning say, dog rugs (my dog leaks a little in his sleep unfortunately). But would it do that well? If not there's always the peroxide...

They're YOUR germs... (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593292)

Unless you happen to be using a public keyboard, these are going to be germs from YOUR body. If they were going to be a problem, then they already would be. Washing your OWN hands would be a lot more effective.

Re:They're YOUR germs... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593642)

Unless you happen to be using a public keyboard, these are going to be germs from YOUR body. If they were going to be a problem, then they already would be.

Stick your finger in your bum, wiggle it around real good, then stick it in your mouth. They are YOUR germs from YOUR body, but that still doesn't mean they won't make you sick.

Washing your OWN hands would be a lot more effective.

One not-yet-discredited (I think) theory is that some auto-immune diseases are caused (or triggered) by the allergen getting somewhere it shouldn't, causing an exaggerated immune response. One my my kids has coeliac disease, and there is some speculation that this is triggered in some cases by repeated exposure to other parts of the body by gluten, one of those being repeated handwashing cracking and damaging the skin on the hands allowing gluten proteins to enter (as well as by wheat based products in the soap/hand wash itself).

OTOH, not washing your hands at all is hardly a good way to overcome that :)

Re:They're YOUR germs... (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594506)

Actually you're fairly unlikely to get sick from your own feces, that doesn't make it less gross though.

BSoD! (2)

pbjones (315127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593296)

Did I get to say it first??? Ex-Microsoft employees build a useful Blue Screen of Death!

Isopropanol (2)

jps25 (1286898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593300)

Just buy some 99.9% pure isopropanol and some distilled water. 5L cost like 10-15EUR here and last a long time.
Then submerge the keyboard or spray it with a 70-80% isopropanol/distilled water solution and let it dry.

Re:Isopropanol (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594082)

I'm genuinely curious - why not just use pure isopropanol? Why add the distilled water?

Re:Isopropanol (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594292)

60-70% IPA actually kills bugs better than pure, which is why the stuff at the drug store is usually 70%. I've heard two explanations why: #1, it doesn't coagulate the proteins at the surface as much and therefore does a better job getting inside the critters; #2, it evaporates an order of magnitude slower, whereas 100% disappears from your skin or the surface being cleaned within seconds.

Isnt this a bit paranoid? (1)

digitaldude99 (1861666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593376)

Is anyone on record of having died from a dirty keyboard? I never heard of it. Germs are rarely dangreous. What about when you walk out your door into the coutryside, no one ever sterilises that. If we follow the logic behind this, we should sterilise that to.

Re:Isnt this a bit paranoid? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593680)

Is anyone on record of having died from a dirty keyboard? I never heard of it. Germs are rarely dangreous. What about when you walk out your door into the coutryside, no one ever sterilises that. If we follow the logic behind this, we should sterilise that to.

google [google.com.au] agrees with you.

"died from a dirty telephone" only gives HHGTTG references. Even "died from a dirty toilet" scores only 6 results, and most of those seem to be people asking if anyone died that way.

I guess germs aren't that dangerous after all... or they are so dangerous that nobody lived to blog about it ;)

Tochscreen? (1)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593534)

If this is meant for bacteria free environments why not use a touchscreen to type and wipe/flash it with UV afterwards?

You could make a grooved one (a little pit for every key) to make it easier to touch type on.

Get an IBM model M (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593606)

Disassemble it using your 7/32" nut driver (buy online, it's an uncommon size) and run everything but the circuit board through the dishwasher. Enclose the key caps in a basket so they don't end up melted by the heater.

Works remarkably well and doesn't take the print off the keys, either. Use alcohol to clean the board. It will have some crumbs on it, mostly, unless you spill liquids into the keyboard.

One problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593636)

Most plastics are sensitive to UV. How long until the plastic breaks down? Wouldn't you kill more bacteria quicker and with less damage to the keyboard by spraying it with pure alcohol? Can't get lab grade it's called "Everclear". It evaporates very fast and will kill something like 99% of bacteria on contact. One bottle will last months even if used daily and anything left over will get you seriously hammered, nasty hangovers warning. Seems like an overly geeky and expensive solution to a simple problem. I used rubbing alcohol on mine but if you are too lazy for 5 minutes with Q-Tips and paper towel try a spray bottle with pure alcohol. A light mist will beat the UV light hands down.

Nuke it from orbit. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593734)

Its the only way to be sure.

The hand giveth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38593808)

...and the hand taketh away

Today's fortune (1)

gopla (597381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38593932)

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing. -- Redd Foxx

Errors (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594284)

> Deep down, most people ,now that the germiest thing they touch all day is the thing
> they're touching all day: their keyboard.

Does no-one proof-read this stuff? They `now` it, right? "Germiest"? Spaces BEFORE a comma? Incorrect use of commas etc. It's as if this forms part of an 'English as a foreign language` test - question 1 maybe?

Extended warranty? How can I lose? (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594346)

Germs are everywhere. If you disinfect it with UV light, all you'll end up doing is growing strains of UV-resistant bacteria. And for what point? Only a very small number of germs are pathogenic. The vast majority of bacteria and viruses aren't interested in you at all.

Like those disinfectant wipes you find in the supermarket that say "Kills 99.9% of Germs," this is something for idiots.

Overdoing it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38594450)

I don't know...in my mind, I'm thinking: what about the asthma statistics for the "civilized countries"? The more we sanitize and use antibiotics, the less workout our immune systems get. I mean, there's a reason that kids are encouraged to go get sick at a certain age... This unnecessary crap is just going to make us more biologically weak...then the rest of the world is just going to laugh their asses off when a small common cold wipes the lot of us out... Hey, if you want to be some larded couch cushion with a face, it's not the greatest idea but who's stopping you...but seriously, turning your immune system into the same pile of larded sloth is just a sheer act of masochism...

Hey, but don't take my word for it...just wait until a small bug turns into an epidemic for all of those who decided to make their immune systems just as lazy as the rest of themselves...

What? The FDA? (1)

bradley13 (1118935) | more than 2 years ago | (#38594548)

No one else seems to have asked the question: Why is the Food and Drug Administration even involved? Keyboards are not food, and UV is not a drug. The company intends to use the FDA approval (of what, exactly?) to to leverage this this $900 idiocy into hospitals.

Did you know: many keyboards do just fine in the dishwasher, as long as you let them dry thoroughly afterwards. For those that don't? You can destroy a lot of normal keyboards before spending $900 for a gimmick.

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