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Ionic silver touchscreens could make ATMs safer5th of February 2015
ATM touchscreens are dirtier and more germ-ridden than public toilets and restaurant tables, according to a study.
Now a US company is developing ATM touchscreens that have an antibacterial coating made using ionic silver.
The company - named Corning - has teamed up with ATM manufacturer Diebold to produce the antibacterial touchscreens. The ionic silver coating is said to inhibit the growth of bacteria, algae, mould, mildew, and fungi on the screens.
Diebold and Corning exhibited a prototype of the new germ-killing screen at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The fingers of hundreds of people come into contact with busy ATM touchscreens every day, but according to Corning these surfaces are rarely cleaned by banks.
The first ATMs to be given the germ-killing touchscreens will be Diebold's smaller cash machines, the type that are generally deployed in corner stores. The screens will later be rolled out to include Diebold's larger ATMs at US bank branches.
Corning will also make antimicrobial touchscreens that can be retrofitted on to existing ATMs. According to the company, the ionic silver surfaces will stay effective against germs for the entire lifetime of the machine.
One study carried out by New Zealand cleaning product company Janola discovered there were more than 1,400 particles of germs or bacteria in a single swab at Union Station's ATMs. The company's study concluded that touchscreens were "germier" than a range of other publicly-used surfaces including public phones, toilets, restaurant tables and train ticket kiosks.