This post was originally posted on the Adaptive Path blog.
Touch screen installations are by no means new. We have been using them in airports and ATMs for years now. With the advances in computing and gestural touch interfaces, we are starting to see them even be considered at the local Ann Taylor. This trend has often times made processes more streamlined and allowed people to interact with information and services in ways that were impossible a few years back. There is a downside to this however, germs. New studies have shown that our touchscreen devices, most notably our iPads are germ magnets. So while we should not be running back to our caves in fear, we need to understand the implications of touch-based interfaces — especially in the context of public environments. One place in particular where touch-based interactions pose a serious hazard are hospitals. The CDC estimates that 1.7 million hospital-associated infections, or Nosocomial infections occur each year with 99,000 resulting in death. When germs are a deadly issue, the last thing you want is to have thousands of people touching the same thing.