The cash in your wallet may be teeming with bacteria, but the ATM could soon become a pestilence-free zone, thanks to a new initiative by Diebold.
Diebold and Corning Incorporated (GLW) have teamed up to introduce the first ATM touch screen featuring a glass frontage embedded with antimicrobial agent, ionic silver, which inhibits the growth of algae, mold, mildew, fungi and bacteria on its surface.
The companies are to showcase a prototype of the product on Diebold's newly released 5500 series ATM in Corning's booth during the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Diebold EVP and chief innovation officer Frank Natoli says the cash machine manufacturer plans to offer the bug-free glass as an option on its suite of self-service terminals, including the recently launched 5500, 3500, 3700 and 9900 series ATMs, as well as a retrofit option for existing ATMs.
"Touch screens are found on a growing number of ATMs today. Offering antimicrobial glass on frequently touched surfaces such as the ATM touchscreen will help financial institutions address the concerns of the public," he says. "Our innovative collaboration with Corning will help us offer improved durability and antimicrobial function for our next generation of touchscreen ATMs."
Innovative it may be, but Diebold is whistling in the wind on this initiative, unless it can also provide a germ-free option for touch button entry and a facility to cleanse the bills recycled and dispensed by its machines.
Recent research by biologists at New York University found that each dollar bill carries about 3000 types of bacteria on its surface, including drug-resistant microbes supplemented with the occasional smudge of anthrax and diphtheria for good measure.