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Self Cleaning Mouse 204

mikesd81 writes "LEWIS Wire is reporting on a self-cleaning mouse that disables the survival of bacteria with an auto-disinfecting surface. From the article: 'According to a recent survey from the University of Arizona, the average desk harbors 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. Despite this, office workers rarely have time to clean their desktops frequently or thoroughly enough to be effective. As a result, the presence of microbes contributes to the spread of pneumonia, the flu, pink eye and strep throat, among other extremely contagious viruses.'"
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Self Cleaning Mouse

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @07:59AM (#16212719)
    Face it, you never catch them all. So some survive, that are more resilent against the agent. They breed. And bacteria do that FAST. The resistance gets inherited. And then again. You are actually causing some un-natural selection that way, until you end up with bacteria that are super aggressive and super resistant against your antibac.

    Why do you think the most violent, nasty and resistant bacteria stems are found in hospitals?
  • by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @08:10AM (#16212795)
    400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat

    Okay, just to clear this up: the average toilet seat is, believe it or not, one of the most sterile and least bacteria-ridden places you will find anywhere in your household. It is usually a barren plastic surface with little purchase for bacteria or moisture, it is cleaned and disinfected more than most surfaces, and the only real chance it has of catching anything that bacteria feed on is if someone ends up smearing crap on it - I'm really hope that's not the norm. In addition, what is unfortunately likely to end up on the seat is urine, which is totally sterile and would kill rather than feed most bacteria. Anyone who ever cleans their house will have a pretty sterile seat, and there is not much chance that anything you do pick up on the back of your legs is going to be transferred directly to your face by your hand.

    Just about the opposite of all the points above can be said about your keyboard and mouse. It should come as absolutely no surprise that these things are riddled with bacteria...

    As is your skin. All of it. You are fucking covered in the little guys, and it's rarely a problem. If you're the sort of person who's likely to get sick from a mouse that hasn't been disinfected, your life is too sterile for you to survive easily in the wild. Self-cleaning mice and mobility-scooters for the morbidly obese - they amount to the same thing: people's poor lifestyles causing them to be unfit to survive normally. I understand why people need these things, but if they'd exercised moderation in all things from the start, they wouldn't be in this situation.

  • by mazarin5 ( 309432 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @08:29AM (#16212961) Journal
    That's besides the fact that most toilet seats tend to be fairly clean. Bacteria just don't do well on cold porcelain; they like warm, wet places with lots of food.
  • by rednip ( 186217 ) * on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @08:47AM (#16213159) Journal
    f you don't clean the environment you occupy for 1/3rd of your day, then heck, you deserve to get sick.
    A third! you Slacker! However I agree fully. Personally I change my keyboard, both at home and at work about once a year, and I get rid of mice at nearly the same rate. I also wipe them (in particular the mouse), with a disinfectant spray once in a while. My desk chair (at home) is changed about every two years (I've also swapped out my chair at work with unused matches before). As anyone who knows me, I am NOBODY's neat freak, nor am I a germaphobe, but I live at my desk, it should be at least as clean as my toilet (which is about a week from it's last scrubbing right now). Of course I've been changing my feather bed pillows every two years these days (that's another one you should see studies on).
  • Illiterate marketing (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheMohel ( 143568 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:05AM (#16213341) Homepage

    Interesting product, illiterate article.

    Fomites (inanimate objects that can spread disease by holding infective organisms between hosts) can spread organisms, but office equipment, including mice and keyboards, has never been shown to contribute to the spread of serious disease. In a hospital environment, especially in something like an ICU where you have multiple providers working with the same computers, this might be an interesting thing to study. In the office, there's no point. You're at far more danger from shaking hands with your co-workers than you are from using their mouse. Tellingly, neither the author of the study nor the manufacturer quote any actual scientific study showing that an antibacterial mouse makes a difference anywhere. This is a talisman, pure and simple.

    Which doesn't stop the writer of the article, who breathlessly refers to "the spread of pneumonia, the flu, pink eye and strep throat, among other extremely contagious viruses." As a physician who is continually explaining the difference between viruses and bacteria, and the difference between diseases caused by transmission of specific organisms (like strep) and general conditions that have hundreds of causes (like pink eye or pneumonia), this sentence made me twitch violently. Suffice it to say that with this single phrase, the author ensured that I would ignore the rest of the article as an obvious waste of time.

    Fortunately, the manufacturer of the mouse did better. I love the disclaimer:


    This device cannot be used as antibiotic or anti-viral medication. Do not ingest the surface material of the device under any circumstances. If you have symptoms of bacteria or viral infection please consult with your physician and seek medical attention immediately. This device does not eliminate the entire universe of bacteria or viruses. It is not a replacement for cleanliness and good personal hygiene. Please keep your hands and work area clean for optimal protection.

    And there you have it. Remember, don't ingest the damn thing under ANY circumtances.

  • by Beefslaya ( 832030 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:31AM (#16213631)
    The process isn't that hard, they have been doing stuff like this for years. They inject Anti-bacterial disinfectants into the plastics before they mold them.

    They have similar mats in showers, boats, dairy farms [].

    I'm suprised they haven't done this before. Inter-office disease spreading via keyboards and such is a HUGE problem, costing billions per year.

    Think about it? How many times have you been nailed by a cold going "around" the office?
  • Re:Germs are good (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aqua_boy17 ( 962670 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:36AM (#16213699)
    IANACP (Clinical Pathologist), but I think there is a lot of truth in what you're saying. People (my sister is an example) who obsessively clean using super antibacterials are actually sicker on average than those who don't. And since you never kill all microbes with anything short of complete sterilization, overuse of antimicrobials usually just breeds stronger and nastier bugs. This is a serious issue in Japan, and it's becoming one in the US. I agree (to a point) that the more the immune system is exposed to relatively harmless bugs, the stronger it gets.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.