Microsoft is attempting to patent a self cleaning touch screen.
The technology would enable the use of touch screens in public places where masses of individuals interact with a touch screen on a daily basis. ATMs, checkout kiosks and airport checking machines all use touch screens. The potential for spreading germs and disease across such machines is high thanks to the large amount of people who make use of said machines. “Even if a touchscreen associated with a public kiosk was cleaned on a daily basis, there could be hundreds, if not thousands, of people interacting with the device between cleanings, creating a significant gateway to transmitting illness,” explains Microsoft in a patent filing.
Microsoft’s patent application describes a way for devices to have UV LEDs alongside backlight LEDs. The technology uses proximity sensors to activate a sterilization process across the touch screen to ensure it is cleaned when not in use. Techie Buzz, who spotted the patent on Thursday, note that the technology could be a unique selling point for Microsoft’s future touch devices, including Windows 8.
Microsoft’s auto cleaning touch screens are likely the result of Microsoft’s Research work. The company has been on a roll with its research projects this week.
The software giant revealed its “OmniTouch” technology earlier this week alongside “PocketTouch“. OmniTouch is a research project designed to turn any surface into a touch screen. The project makes use of a Kinect style camera to project output and capture input. Microsoft’s PocketTouch work involves a custom sensor to allow users to control smartphones through clothing. Microsoft also revealed a HoloDesk demo on Wednesday. The technology allows users to manipulate 3D virtual images with their hands.