The pandemic caused by the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has given many a chance to revaluate their daily practices in terms of responsibility and hygiene with countermeasures consisting of social distancing and the remote handling of everything from business to chores, but certain routine actions such as touching publicly shared handles, rails, and buttons are practically unavoidable.
An idea that seems to be gaining traction in Japan for post-pandemic use is the implementation of "no-touch touch screens" which eliminate the need for direct contact when navigating screens and panels. One Japanese automotive parts manufacturer recently developed such panels using what they call "Floating Pictogram Technology" to allow users to operate button-based Japanese toilets by simply hovering their finger of the desired button on a panel.
Hospitable technology maker Almex has followed suit, having successfully developed "Contactless Frame" touch panels for use in hospitals, where they may be needed most.
Although touch panels that are touched by a large number of users are frequently disinfected by each facility to ensure maximum hygiene, there is still a possibility of transmission of germs and viruses via them.
After demonstration experiments were successfully conducted at Sanseikai Shinyurigaoka General Hospital and Koshikai Toyooka First Hospital, the non-contact frame (which function at a distance up to 30mm) will be mass produced and available for purchase to hospitals and other facilities by Almex.
As a first step, Almex will produce fittings for the APS-3300 touch panel, which they say has the most contact among touch panels, for hospitals where nosocomial infection control is urgently needed, and will sequentially develop products compatible with other medical-related equipment.
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