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Future MacBooks could have crumb-resistant keyboards

The application for the patent was originally filed in 2016. (Source: Pixabay)
The application for the patent was originally filed in 2016. (Source: Pixabay)
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has published a patent application made by Apple Inc. titled “ingress prevention for keyboards.” The wordy document features a number of technical drawings showing alternative examples of key assembly. The general idea of the patent is to “block contaminant ingress,” so could this mean future MacBooks will have crumb-resistant spill-proof keyboards?

It appears one of the many issues technicians at Apple have been working on is the problem of contaminants getting trapped under MacBook keyboards. This may seem like a small detail to some, but having dust or a crumb becoming lodged under a key can be a very costly affair for a MacBook owner. But fear not, exasperated fans of Apple's expensive computing devices, as the Cupertino-based company could be finally tackling this design flaw.

The patent describes a number of methods that could be used to make a MacBook keyboard less prone to damage from dust, liquid, dirt, and food crumbs. Specific mechanisms drawn out in the patent include:

[...] membranes or gaskets that block contaminant ingress; structures such as brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps around key caps; funnels, skirts, bands, or other guard structures coupled to key caps that block contaminant ingress into and/or direct contaminants away from areas under the key caps; bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas out from around the key caps [...]

That’s right, Apple might just stick bellows under MacBook keyboards causing tiny “air explosions” every time you hit a key. No longer will PC owners be able to cackle in glee at the horrified faces of MacBook owners who have just spilled their latte or dropped breadcrumbs onto the keyboard whilst pretending to work at the local coffee shop.

One of the patent's technical drawings. (Source: Laptopmag)
One of the patent's technical drawings. (Source: Laptopmag)




Digital Trends

USPTO (full patent description)

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Daniel R Deakin, 2018-03- 9 (Update: 2018-04-20)