Still Nervous About Boinking Away At A Touchscreen? Put On A Paper Finger Condom

January 11, 2024 by Dave Haynes

It has been four years – wow – since we all started wondering about this mystery virus coming out China, and since the debate spun up about the safety of touching surfaces, including interactive screens.

There were reasonable questions floated about what the rise and spread of COVID-19 might mean for companies that used touchscreens, and particularly for companies that make and sell technology for interactive displays and kiosks.

Time and experience taught us that a touchscreen presented less transmission risk than with people interacting one to one and breathing on each other. Self-service screens actually grew in demand both because of that, and because labor supplies shrunk and self-service screens grew somewhat necessary.

The virus is still very much around – I see notes all the time from people saying they’re down with COVID – but it is much more managed now than the scary times of 2020. There will still be people nervous about touching surfaces, fearing viral transmission or more generally not all that enthused about touching something an endless parade of other nose-wiping, mouth-touching humans have previously touched.

Which is a long way of setting up the emergence of a Swedish start-up that’s marketing a device that puts a paper sleeve on a willing user’s fingertip, so that boinking away at something like an order screen presents less transmission risk.

Paprtect has a device and system that looks a bit like a standalone thermal printer for labels, with a paper roll inside that feeds little sheets across a dispenser. Users stick their index finger in the thing, and the device wraps a small sheet of thin paper around the end of the digit – kinda sorta like a condom for a finger (and we’ll leave the exploration of that there).

It’s (obviously) capable of transmitting the touch signal through the paper, and when done, the paper thingie just flicks off. There is waste, but the sheets are tiny, 100% compostable,  and I’d imagine a typical QSR uses MUCH more paper for disposable napkins.

The units are about $300 USD, and Paprtect also has a subscription plan. The company makes the costing argument that this presents a cheaper, easier solution than the resource and cleaning solution costs of manually wiping down screens.

A counter-argument might be that in a busy environment, the paper roll might need frequent changing – as is the case with receipt printers at order counters. It holds 2,100 sheets per roll.

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