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Vioguard, a company started by two Microsoft Hardware veterans and their business partners, says it has received U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval for use of its self-sanitizing computer keyboard in hospitals and other healthcare settings.

The keyboard can be retracted automatically into an enclosure to be bathed in germicidal ultraviolet light from two 25-watt fluorescent lamps. The enclosure can double as a monitor stand, and the mechanism for retracting and ejecting the keyboard works hands-free via sensors.

Vioguard says the technique has been proven effective in killing a minimum of 99.99% of harmful bacteria and viruses, including flu, MRSA and other nasty stuff that can spread through hospitals. The intent is to provide healthcare facilities an alternative to manual cleaning.

Executives at Vioguard include former Microsofties Craig Ranta and John Sharps, both co-founders. The company, based in Kirkland, had previously sold the keyboard for consumer use, offering it for $900 on

Vioguard announced the FDA approval for medical use this morning and says it’s seeking partners to help bring the keyboard to market.

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