You know what’s disgusting? Dirty touchscreens — like those of smartphones and tablets, which are routinely subjected to filthy fingers from sources like bathrooms and other infectious environmental surfaces.
Using disinfectant wipes every day can be a yucky chore and not enough people really stick to such a routine.
A new patent from Microsoft, in which UV light is used to disinfect touchscreens automatically, holds out hope for making the world a more sanitary place.
A blog post about the patent quotes the filing and cites what we already know.
Surfaces of these touch-based screens are riddled with finger prints and other interaction remnants carrying potential disease causing agents. Frequent use and trading among users also are substantial problems in continued transmission of disease causing agents from user to device, device to user and other users.
The solution? A transparent film material is affixed to the touchscreen that will automatically disinfect the surface. UV light is emitted from a UV light source into an edge of the transparent material, transferring the light through it.
This PatentYogi cartoon breaks it down.
Then, some UV light escapes from the transparent film when you touch the surface (called a frustrated total internal reflection effect) to disinfect fingertips and immediate surrounding areas, like that touchscreen.
Sounds like a plan.