New, Weird Tech: The Washable Keyboard and Mouse

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LAS VEGAS -- Let's be honest, keyboards are filthy. Even if you take pretty good care of your keys, you apply layer after layer of bacteria onto them every day.

SealShield now claims they've got a solution: waterproof keyboards, mouses, and remote controls that are "dishwasher safe." Their demo here at the Consumer Electronics Show consisted solely of what you see in the photo above: these three accessories floating in water.

It seems designed solely for those with OCD leanings, but the sales guy at the booth made two interesting points as I attempted to snap this photo and run away.

First, he said, hospitals clean everything but they can't clean a standard keyboard and mouse. Second, he told me that hospitals actually use a ton of remote controls because they get tangled up in the bedsheets and end up getting laundered and destroyed.

I'm not sure if the latter is true, but it reminds me what a weird business hoteling really is. If you're a big Vegas hotel owner, you have to optimize everything from the number of towels you supply to the frequency that you lose remote controls in the bedsheets.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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