Tardigrade Tough NEMA-Rated Touchscreens

October 20, 2020

Tardigrades are tough critters, capable of surviving impossible environments. From the vacuum of space to extreme temperatures and dangerous chemicals, tardigrades continue thriving and reproducing due to incredible defense mechanisms.

Surviving Chemical Exposure

Researchers have fumigated soil containing tardigrades with chemicals like sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and methyl bromide. Soil containing tardigrades and other micro-animals underwent fumigation for months with various chemical concentrations. While other microorganisms in the soil died, the tardigrades appeared unaffected.

Tardigrades survive such conditions due to a unique protein not found in other animals that forms a protective barrier around DNA in their cells and prevents damage. This protein also protects them when doused in harsh liquids like hydrogen peroxide and ethanol.

Tardigrades can also form a protective barrier around themselves. When encountering an environment unable to support them (such as a desert), tardigrades expel nearly all their water content and shrivel into a dry husk, called a tun. In this state, a tardigrade’s metabolism slows, and they hibernate until reactivated by water. Scientists have found tardigrades can withstand more extreme conditions in a tun state than when they are not.

NEMA/IP65-Rated Touchscreen Computers

Sealevel’s touchscreen computers feature rugged enclosures that protect inner workings, making them tardigrade tough with a NEMA4/IP65 rating. NEMA ratings are set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. IP ratings are known as the Ingress or International Protection Code and are set by the International Electrotechnical Commission. These ratings establish degrees of protection provided by enclosure performance.

A NEMA4/IP65 rating designates a product suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Enclosures are watertight, able to withstand not only rain and snow but also water splashes, hose downs and other pressurized water streams. Devices are also sealed against dust and dirt and are not damaged by ice forming on the enclosure.

Sealevel products undergo rigorous in-house testing for harsh environments. Materials for enclosures are carefully chosen according to the rugged conditions in which devices must operate, including thermal extremes, shock, vibration, electromagnetic interference and submersion. Enclosure shape is meticulously designed to disperse heat and provide adequate space for internal components. Cables, latches and touch screens are also intricate parts of design and material selection. Sealevel is happy to design custom rugged technology for extreme conditions.