At some point in time, most of us have probably spilled water, coffee, or a soft drink on our Mac or iPad keyboards, meaning we may have to clean them and let ‘em dry out. Apple has been granted a patent (number 10.784,062) for “ingress prevention for keyboards” for methods to make its keyboards more spill resistant.
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that keyboards are vulnerable to contaminants such as dust or liquid, entering though openings or connections in or around one or more incorporated input devices or external input devices. The external input devices may themselves be vulnerable to contaminants entering through various openings or connections.
For example, keyboards typically involve a number of moving keys. Liquid ingress around the keys into the keyboard can damage electronics. Residues from such liquids, such as sugar, may corrode or block electrical contacts, prevent key movement by bonding moving parts, and so on. Solid contaminants (such as dust, dirt, food crumbs, and the like) may lodge under keys, blocking electrical contacts, getting in the way of key movement, and so on. Apple wants to help prevent such mishaps.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “A keyboard assembly includes a substrate, a key cap, a movement mechanism moveably coupling the key cap to the substrate, and a guard structure coupled to the key cap operable to direct contaminants away from the movement mechanism. In other embodiments, a keyboard includes a base; a web that defines apertures; keys moveably coupled to the base within the apertures; and a gasket coupled to the keys, the gasket fixed between the web and the base, operable to block passage of contaminants into the apertures.