Apple patent involves keyboards that are more immune to spills

Apple wants Mac keyboards to be more resistant to spills. The company has been granted a patent (number 20180068808) for “ingress prevention for keyboards.”

Keyboard patent.jpeg

In the patent filing, Apple notes that liquids and other things seeping around the keys and into a keyboard can cause damage. 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 more. Apple wants to lessen the possibilities of such disasters.

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Keyboards include mechanisms that prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress. In some embodiments, 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.”

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.