There are a variety of interface alternatives for many users today, such as membrane keyboards and switches, but did you know that membrane switches have already been used for more than two decades? Membrane switches first came out as user interfaces for products such as games, appliances, controls for automobiles, and more. But when it comes to the medical sector, membrane switches have proven their advantages as well. Here are the top four benefits of membrane switches for the medical sector you should know about.
Better graphics and options
With a graphic overlay used for an instrument, a specialist can see the surface even from an angle of 180o. This means that medical specialists will quickly be able to spot indicator lights as well as warning lights even from a distance and even from different angles. This gives membrane switches one big difference from touchscreens, which don’t offer the same ease when it comes to the identification and detection of signals. Another advantage of the graphics overlay on membrane switches is that it easily defines the location and function of switches and controls. The membrane switch’s graphics overlay can also be more functional compared to other surfaces since different colours can be chosen. The display of a membrane switch is much more visible as well as undistorted compared to mechanical switches. The switch can also be embossed, which gives the panel more definition and a 3D look.
Better protection and cleanliness
In recent times, membrane switches have started to be incorporated with anti-microbial properties with the development of an anti-microbial film. This film is now available commercially, and it can either be embossed or printed with the use of standard inks. This is good news indeed for the medical sector, as membrane switches can now come with anti-microbial properties which prevent bacteria from being absorbed by the switch’s surface. The anti-microbial property effectively inhibits the growth of bacteria, resulting in enhanced cleanliness and protection from contamination in the medical environment.
Protection from ESD
A good membrane switch is also able to protect users from ESD, or electrostatic discharge. Due to an inner layer found in the switch, an electrostatic discharge can be grounded. Along with this, membrane switches can also provide protection from RFI/EMI, and the layers of shielding can be customised and tailored according to the application for which it will be used.
As with any other kind of user interface, one of the biggest risks is water (or chemicals) seeping through the sockets into the cavity. But membrane switches are completely sealed, which means that no water and no chemical can seep through and soak into the cavity. And even if a membrane switch is sealed, it can still offer highly-visible indications with the use of LEDs mounted on the surface, resulting in easier operations.
Membrane switches used in the medical sector are also easier to maintain and keep clean as they do not accumulate dirt on their surface. Additionally, membrane switches can provide better protection from UV radiation that can easily damage an electronic device.
Image attributed to Pixabay.com