Keyboards can carry a host of germ and bacteria, but a new keyboard and mouse tray aim to find a way around the risk by self-sanitizing with ultraviolet light.
The Vioguard keyboard looks and feels like a standard keyboard, but is stored in a mechanized enclosure, which doubles as a monitor stand. When you're done working for the day, wave your hand to activate the infrared motion sensor and the keyboard will automatically retract into its enclosure, where ultraviolet light will blast germs away. When you're ready to start working, a similar wave of the hand will extend the keyboard into working position.
LED indicators can alert you to when the keyboard has been sanitized and is ready for use -- the cycle takes around 65-95 seconds.
Announced Wednesday, Vioguard reports that its self-cleaning keyboard just received the nod of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for use in medical settings. Back in 2009, the same keyboard was launched for consumers for the hefty pricetag of $899 via Amazon.com, but is now being refocused for medical clinics and hospitals.
Medgadget adds that a small clinical trial with the keyboard in a pediatric hospital showed that it was 67 percent effective in "eliminating bacterial contamination as measured by quantitative bacterial cultures," although it did not eliminate the need for a regular scrubdown.
Another product designed to rid your keyboard of germs with the flick of a switch is the Verilux UVC Sanitizing Wand ($69.95).
But experts say the best advice is to not worry about compulsively cleaning your keyboard and to simply use soap and water to clean your hands. Ardis Dee Hoven, a member of the American Medical Association's board of trustees, told US News and World Report that carrying portable hand sanitizers and using them regularly may also be useful.
If you're worried about your keyboard and phone, Hoven also recommends wiping them down with a bleach solution from time to time.