This week, the US Patent and Trademark office made public a patent from Apple that proposes a solution for one of the oldest computer bugaboos: keyboard dirt.
Originally reported by Digital Trends, the patent is titled “Ingress Prevention for Keyboards” and offers several ideas for “mechanisms that prevent and/or alleviate contaminant (such as liquid, dust, and so on) ingress.”
The solutions are inventive, if not a little overcomplicated. Some of them including an under-key membrane, tiny gaskets underneath the keys, brushes, wipers, caps, and skirts. The most intriguing suggestion is “bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas,” which makes it sound like your keyboard would constantly be letting out puffs of air.
Dirt and debris under keyboards is an insidious problem, as it can severely damage the components underneath the keyboard. It’s difficult to avoid, unless you keep the laptop in a clean room environment and only use it while wearing a biohazard suit. There are various solutions, such as tiny vacuums and compressed air, but those come with their own risks.
This requires the standard disclaimer that patents don’t necessarily mean anything, since companies file for them with almost indiscriminate frequency. But if Apple does come up with a way we can keep crumbs from invading our expensive keyboards, we’re all for it.
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