In the modern world, touchscreens are everywhere. From your smartphone to the elevator controls, we interact with number of touchscreens every single day. As a result, long list of devices are susceptible to transmit and carry disease causing agents as a result of physical user interaction. There is a possibility that bacteria, viruses, etc. are transmitted by devices that users interact with daily.
Touch-based screens are becoming an ever prevalent presence in variety of user interaction capable devices. 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. Limiting exposure by enforcing single user devices does not eliminate the pathogenic exposure and severely limits the utility of such devices. Single user devices are also resource wasteful and may not suit all functional requirements. In some cases such as a public terminal, single user restriction may not be a solution. Solutions such as removable screen covers are inconvenient with costly if frequently replaced.
In this patent, Microsoft is describing a system in which UV light is used to disinfect touchscreens automatically.
A UV and visible light transparent film material is secured onto or within a touch-based screen to automatically disinfect the external surface. UV light is emitted from a UV light source into an edge of the transparent film material in order to transfer the UV light through the transparent film material while remaining in the transparent film material through total internal reflection effect. Some UV light exits the transparent film material at points of contact to disinfect fingertips and immediate surrounding areas through the frustrated total internal reflection effect.
This seems to be a great idea. Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to bring this technology to Surface and Lumia lineup in the coming years. What do you think?