OK, here's a bit of a switch (literally).
KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch vendor ATEN Technology in Irvine, Calif., has introduced a bunch of products that feature antimicrobial nanocoating.
Its theory is that some of the most germ-contaminated items in the average work environment include the keyboard and the mouse, which a lot of us touch pretty much all do. The heat in a data center, in particular, is breeding ground for the flu, eye infections, strep throat, etc.
How are the ATEN products green? The theory behind some of these nanocoatings is that they will save on the use of chemicals because they deactivate the various enzymes and proteins that bacteria survive on. Thus making it less attractive for them to hang around. Thus making them more healthy to touch for you and me.
The new ATEN nanocoated products include the KL9108M/KL9116M Hideaway LCD Console over the Net; the KL1116L and KL1116M Hideaway LCD KVM Switch; and the KL3116M.
Aside from its obvious uses in sensors and RFID-type applications, nanotechnology is being explored more and more as a way to help "clean" various undesirables from our environment. I just read a terrific background article on this topic over the weekend in Onearth, the magazine published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
As with many green tech developments, there's a tradeoff associated with using nanocoatings like this. Their ability to displace the job of toxic cleansers is appealing, but there's a lot more research needed to figure out what these substances might do to the human body.