Apple Wants to Patent a Keyboard You’re Allowed to Spill Coffee On


In the future, eating and drinking near your computer keyboard might not be such a dangerous game. On March 8, Apple filed a patent application for a keyboard designed to prevent liquids, crumbs, dust, and other “contaminants” from getting inside, Dezeen reports.

Apple has previously filed several patents—including one announced on March 15—surrounding the idea of a keyless keyboard that would work more like a trackpad or a touchscreen, using force-sensitive technology instead of mechanical keys. The new anti-crumb keyboard patent that Apple filed, however, doesn't get into the specifics of how the anti-contamination keyboard would work. It isn’t a patent for a specific product the company is going to debut anytime soon, necessarily, but a patent for a future product the company hopes to develop. So it’s hard to say how this extra-clean keyboard might work—possibly because Apple hasn’t fully figured that out yet. It’s just trying to lay down the legal groundwork for it.

Here’s how the patent describes the techniques the company might use in an anti-contaminant keyboard:

"These mechanisms may include membranes or gaskets that block contaminant ingress, structures such as brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps around key caps; funnels, skirts, bands, or other guard structures coupled to key caps that block contaminant ingress into and/or direct containments away from areas under the key caps; bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas out from around the key caps, into cavities in a substrate of the keyboard, and so on; and/or various active or passive mechanisms that drive containments away from the keyboard and/or prevent and/or alleviate containment ingress into and/or through the keyboard."

Thanks to a change in copyright law in 2011, the U.S. now gives ownership of an idea to the person who first files for a patent, not the person with the first working prototype. Apple is especially dogged about applying for patents, filing plenty of patents each year that never amount to much.

Still, they do reveal what the company is focusing on, like foldable phones (the subject of multiple patents in recent years) and even pizza boxes for its corporate cafeteria. Filing a lot of patents allows companies like Apple to claim the rights to intellectual property for technology the company is working on, even when there's no specific invention yet.

As The New York Times explained in 2012, “patent applications often try to encompass every potential aspect of a new technology,” rather than a specific approach. (This allows brands to sue competitors if they come out with something similar, as Apple has done with Samsung, HTC, and other companies over designs the company views as ripping off iPhone technology.)

That means it could be a while before we see a coffee-proof keyboard from Apple, if the company comes out with one at all. But we can dream.

[h/t Dezeen]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Evolution of the Presidential State Car

FDR's Lincoln K Sunshine Special at the now-closed Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Michigan.
FDR's Lincoln K Sunshine Special at the now-closed Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Michigan.
Greg Gjerdingen, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It wasn’t long after the 1920s automobile boom that the Secret Service started carting the president around in a souped-up vehicle of his own. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to get an official presidential state car in 1939—a Lincoln K Sunshine Special, outfitted with a two-way radio and other bells and whistles—and the tradition has continued ever since. Though each state car is different from its predecessor, certain trends have emerged over the last 80 years.

They’ve almost all been Lincolns or Cadillacs, and colors have ranged from dark blue to black. Earlier presidents favored Lincolns; Harry Truman was chauffeured in an armored Lincoln Cosmopolitan, for example, and John F. Kennedy was riding in a convertible Lincoln Continental SS-100-X when he was assassinated in 1963. But after Ronald Reagan was given a Cadillac Fleetwood in the early 1980s, presidents began shifting away from Lincolns and toward Cadillacs (though George H.W. Bush did revert to using a Lincoln during his term from 1989 to 1993).

In fact, the only official presidential state cars that haven’t been Lincolns or Cadillacs actually aren’t cars at all—they’re buses. The Secret Service used to rent buses for the presidential motorcade, but they finally decided to manufacture their own during Barack Obama’s tenure. In 2011, they debuted Ground Force One, a 45-foot vehicular behemoth that reportedly houses oxygen tanks and even bags of spare blood in case of an emergency.

The bus may be the most formidable machine in the history of presidential vehicles, but the addition of special security features isn’t a new practice. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Secret Service realized the president was especially vulnerable while in transit, and agents added bulletproof tires, weapons compartments, and other safety elements to his Lincoln. A similar upgrade was made to the presidential state car after Kennedy’s assassination—this time, it was rigged with titanium armor-plated doors, reinforced glass windows, and a bulletproof roof.

Take a look at the evolution of POTUS’s wheels in the illustrations below, courtesy of UK-based vehicle leasing company Vanarama.

1. Lincoln K Sunshine Special // Franklin D. Roosevelt

The two-way radio was a big deal at the time.Vanarama

2. Lincoln Cosmopolitan // Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy

Truman got to choose his car after he was elected in 1948.Vanarama

3. Lincoln Continental SS-100-X // John F. Kennedy

Presidential cars got safer after Kennedy's assassination in 1963.Vanarama

4. Cadillac Fleetwood // Ronald Reagan

Reagan's boxy Cadillac set a new precedent.Vanarama

5. Cadillac DeVille // George W. Bush

Bush's high-tech Cadillac even had night vision capabilities.Vanarama

6. Ground Force One // Barack Obama

This massive bus is supposed to be prepared for any kind of emergency.Vanarama

7. Cadillac “The Beast” // Donald Trump

"The Beast" is POTUS's current vehicle of choice.Vanarama

[h/t Vanarama]