Self sanitizing keyboard approved by FDA, ignored by bacterio-cognoscenti

Claims to kill 99.99% of germs; tests shows only 67%, still requires wipe-down

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(According to another British study, not only are keyboards 5 times dirtier than toilets, 16 percent of cell phones have traces of human feces and intestinal bacteria on them. So watch whose phone you borrow.)

Never, ever accept a used keyboard from a hospital

So if you're looking for a tough, persistent pathogens that won't collapse at the first wash of antibiotic or flash of UV light, look in a hospital.

Keyboards in hospitals are as disgusting as those anywhere else, with the added benefit of having at least a few strains of really incorrigible or delinquent microbes as well as the usual kind that hangs around to eat the crumbs of lunch you leave behind for them.

As hospitals become more digitized, keyboards are showing up closer and closer to the actual patient and surgical rooms – often inside each so clinicians can go direct from the patient to the keyboard to update diagnostic records, then go wash their hands so they can infect the next patient's keyboard with only that patient's individual bacteria.

How does it work? And is it worth $900?

Vioguard's self-sanitizing keyboard ships with a box into which the keyboard can withdraw to be bathed in the germicidal ultraviolet-C light of two 24-watt fluorescent lamps. (Ultraviolet does to germs what hard vacuum does to humans; I won't go into details, but go watch any SF thriller that includes a shot of someone in a space suit in the trailer and you'll see what I mean.)

The box, with has a mechanized drawer into which the keyboard retracts automatically, keeps the keyboard hidden until a user waves a hand to activate an infrared motion detector, which sends the keyboard out of its germ-free environment to experience the filth of your fingers (and lunch).

There are plenty of antiseptic sprays, wipes and other keyboard-antibiotics, not to mention waterproof keyboards that don't mind being deloused a couple of times per day.

Alternatives to clean your keys or tan your fingers

There are also other UV products: from VirWall Systems, a UV-lit cover that is put over phones or keyboards for a little bacterial mass destruction, then can be moved on to other targets.

Germ Genie looms over a keyboard like an evil desk light, bathing it in UV to kill germs left by your fingers as you type. It's not clear if it tans your hands while it works, but that's possible, too.

Most are awkward, ugly, smelly, carcinogenic and less effective than they should be because they can't reach bacteria hidden down in the nooks and crannies of a keyboard.

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