Computerized digital devices are ubiquitous today, with many of them sporting touch screens and intuitive operation. Practically everyone uses a smartphone in daily life and owns a computer. Many like to play video games for fun. The internet has become an indispensable staple of living and work. Industry is harnessing the benefits of ever more powerful, smaller, and more affordable microprocessor-based circuits for the control of equipment and tools, automation of processes, as well as the acquisition, managing, and analysis of data.
Therefore, kids and students urgently need to acquire digital competence and become proficient in the confident use of digital technologies for themselves and for their future career prospects. Becoming ready for Industry 4.0 is essential for the German economy to be globally competitive and ready for the challenges of the future.
Interactive displays offer advanced tools for classrooms, and are effectively replacing traditional blackboards and whiteboards. Novel interactive flat screens offer the possibility to connect with personal devices like tablets and notebooks used by teachers and students and thus enable fast and easy sharing of teaching materials, interaction with students, and easy access to remote resources via the internet. In this way, they facilitate very engaging and efficient classes. Their characteristic feature is the possibility of directly writing onto the interactive display’s screen, which may even be done simultaneously by several persons. In this way, students may solve problems and assignments in parallel or engage in group activities, and the results may be directly compared and annotated on the touch panel. Screen contents and class progress may be saved, shared, and documented.
Despite all the benefits of interactive displays and digital class infrastructure and the push to deploy them at a fast pace, one potential disadvantage of a shared writing surface is that pathogenic germs may be left on the screen by the people who touch it. Those germs can easily accumulate and they may be transferred from one person to another.
If students or teachers get sick, they cannot teach or will miss class. Especially in the current course of the Covid-19 pandemic, this must be seen as a substantial health concern, because community spreads of the coronavirus are posing a huge threat to public health and society that needs to be avoided at all costs.
To mitigate the issue of passing germs by sharing screens, in addition to frequent cleaning, BenQ has introduced the utilization of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) for germ control on interactive display screens. The AgNPs are fused to the screen’s glass surface during a proprietary manufacturing process, ensuring anti-germ protection remains in place for the screen’s entire lifespan.
The antimicrobial efficiency of AgNPs has been thoroughly investigated in scientific studies [ , ]. Subsequently, antibacterial and antiviral coatings based on AgNPs have been applied on medical equipment to protect patients and medical personnel by minimizing the risk of spreading infections during the handling of patients and equipment, for example in surgery theaters or isolation wards. The AgNPs work by constantly releasing silver ions (Ag+) from their surface, and because the AgNPs are very small, they easily cover even very large surfaces with lots of silver ions present. Silver ions are effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. They can migrate through germ cell walls, distribute inside the germ, attach to vital proteins and structures, and render germs inert. The germs finally die off and disintegrate. Ag+ inhibits microbial metabolism, impairs germ ability to replicate, and reduces the ability of microbes to infect hosts.
To ensure that BenQ can keep this antimicrobial promise, the efficacy of the anti-microbe AgNP coating has been certified by TÜV München in their own microbial testing laboratories for each model BenQ is offering. TÜV has proven that the nano silver coating on interactive flatscreens works efficiently against at least two important and frequent pathogens, E. coli and Staphylococcus. In addition, the antimicrobial properties of BenQ flatscreens have been internationally recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Society of International sustaining growth for Antimicrobial Agents, Japan, the Korea Testing & Research Institute for the Chemical Industry, and the FITI Testing & Research Institute, Korea.
Despite these special screen properties, which in addition to anti-germ protection include the reduced emission of blue light, reduced flicker, and an integrated anti-glare coating, everyday care for the BenQ interactive displays is easy: the glass can be cleaned by wiping with a cloth that has been moistened with a dab of 70% isopropanol, which removes fingerprints and supports the inactivation of microorganisms.
Interactive displays from BenQ with their innovative antimicrobial silver nanoparticle coating help in minimizing the risk of the spreading and contracting of microorganism-borne diseases in public locations like classrooms and contribute in this way to a safe and healthy learning environment.