Browse Prior Art Database

Automatic Cleaning and Testing of Computer Keyboards

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000118107D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 172K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Bandat, K: AUTHOR

Abstract

Keyboards that can be cleaned automatically with a suitable tool, with the optional function of performing a test of mechanical and electrical functions in parallel to the cleaning process, require some modification or adaptation of the current design.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 42% of the total text.

Automatic Cleaning and Testing of Computer Keyboards

      Keyboards that can be cleaned automatically with a suitable
tool, with the optional function of performing a test of mechanical
and electrical functions in parallel to the cleaning process, require
some modification or adaptation of the current design.

      Since the mechanical parts of the keyboard that have to be
subjected to the cleaning process will be brought into contact with
suitable cleaning and sanitizing fluids, a fluid-tight or
fluid-rejecting containment of the electrical parts will be required.
In particular, the electrical contacts actuated by the mechanical
keys, and the electrical connection from the keyboard to the
pluggable cable connection have to be reliably protected from getting
into contact with the cleaning fluid.  It is proposed to separate the
mechanical keys from the electrical contacts by an elastic foil that
properly transmits the pressure from the activation of the mechanical
key to the electrical contact, but separates the electrical
compartment from the mechanical parts, as shown in Fig. 1.

      All electrical parts including the connection to the female
plug part for the cable connection are contained in the liquid-proof
or liquid-rejecting part of the keyboard, that according to the
inventive concepts can both be tested during the cleaning procedure
for tightness and protected against the intrusion of cleaning fluid.

      In a modification of the above concepts, the actuation between
the mechanical keys and the electrical contacts can be fully
magnetic, activating a Reed contact in the electrical compartment by
a suitable magnet in the mechanical key.  For the purpose of
explaining the concepts in the current disclosure, only the design
for normal mechanically actuated electrical contacts is shown in the
Figures, since  keyboards with mechanical actuation are considerably
less costly, but require a more complex solution to the tightness
problem.

      Fig. 1 shows the conceptual components of a keyboard according
to the disclosed concepts.  Fig. 2 shows an enlargement of the test
plug connecting the keyboard to the test tool.

      A separating foil separates the electrical compartment from the
mechanical parts of the keyboard.  This foil is suspended against a
key separator mask that leaves a hole for the activator for each
individual key, but supports the separating foils in the spaces
between the holes.  This support is needed for the support of the
foil in the tightness proof, as described below.  The schematic
drawing does not show the mechanical parts involved in exercising the
right amount of mechanical resistance when pressing keys, since these
mechanisms represent state of the art.  But these parts are also
subject to cleaning and testing, as described later.  The schematic
drawing shows the test plug at the bottom of the keyboard, while in
actual situations this plug will normally be situated at the...