by Brianna Crandall — June 6, 2018 — In a recent study of germs in airplanes and airports, the dirtiest places to touch weren’t what travelers expected. The dirtiest touchpoints for travelers were the touchscreens on the check-in kiosks, which had 10 times as many contaminants as the toilet seats.
The combination of this study and comments from customers led NanoTouch Materials, an innovator of self-cleaning surface products, to develop a clear self-cleaning adhesive film that can be easily applied to all forms of touchscreens. This film includes mineral nanocrystals, which are powered by light and generate an oxidation reaction stronger than bleach, says the company.
Mark Sisson, co-founder of NanoTouch Materials, explained:
The more our product development team thought about it, the more applications became obvious. We’d be in a restaurant eating lunch and see multiple servers touching the same checkout screen after handling people’s dirty dishes and money. We’d see doctors carrying an iPad, entering information during multiple patient visits. So it became much bigger than just an airport kiosk.
NanoTouch Materials was reportedly the first to develop NanoSeptic self-cleaning surfaces, but this is the first clear material in the company’s lineup. A wide variety of industries are already using their self-cleaning skins for high-traffic touchpoints such as door handles, and their mats for reception counters as well as portable applications for travel and food service. NanoTouch recently launched a self-cleaning liner for TSA security bins in airports and other high-security facilities such as nuclear power plants.
This new clear self-cleaning film uses a residue-free adhesive so it holds up to use in public spaces better than traditional static-cling films. And the self-cleaning action works continuously to completely break down any organic contaminants deposited on the screen, says NanoTouch. The company has announced that the film will be sold in 12″ x 18″ sheets that can be cut to whatever size the customer needs.
For applications like an airline check-in kiosk where there may be thousands of touchscreens around the world that are all the same size, NanoTouch can manufacture film sheets that are sized specifically for that device so that no cutting is necessary.
Dennis Hackemeyer, co-founder, remarked:
We’ve already had customers in travel, health-care and education reach out to us about being early adopters before we’ve even launched the product. And we’re talking to the research team at a major school of nursing that is interested in conducting a clinical trial to assess real-world outcomes from using multiple self-cleaning surfaces in a health-care environment. These surfaces would include door-handle skins, reception counter mats and tissue box covers.
With most facilities, the janitorial staff is focused on traditional cleaning tasks such as emptying trash cans, and cleaning windows, floors and toilets, says NanoTouch. These efforts typically result in mostly a visual benefit since the facility looks clean. High-traffic touchpoints, such as door handles, are generally not a priority even though those surfaces are highly contaminated and touched most often. Touchscreens, by contrast, are often not cleaned unless they are visibly dirty enough to interfere with use.
The cleaning processes and procedures have not adapted to the heavy use these touchscreens get. At airports today, airlines are directing every passenger to check in using the kiosks. This is a major change from just a few years ago, when the touchscreens were only used by a few people looking to avoid long check-in lines. And while almost all passengers are now using these kiosks, no regular cleaning is being conducted, so a self-cleaning surface can help offset this lack of regular cleaning, says NanoTouch.
The company notes that similar situations exist in food-service and health-care environments. NanoTouch says these screens are rarely cleaned. Self-cleaning surfaces can help offset the use of additional manpower and cleaning chemicals. And with manpower being replaced by self-service kiosks in fast food restaurants and convenience stores, a self-cleaning touchscreen plays an even more important role in maintaining a clean environment.
Similarly, touchscreen kiosks in office, museum, conference and other public lobbies that are used for giving directions, providing information, registration or other receptionist duties could also benefit from these self-cleaning films.
NanoTouch Materials will be offering these new clear film sheets at a low price point. The sheets will be available through distributors or online from the NanoSeptic Store.