FlipPad is a product of a Chelmsford, Essex, UK-based company called FutureNova. The case is designed to enclose iPad Air 2 & the 9.7″ iPad Pro, and provide all sorts of fluid and chemical protections for these tablets when clinicians, caregivers, company reps and others use them around patients.
Contact precautions and infection control work both ways: you don’t want your device to get contaminated in a messy environment, and you don’t want it to become a focus of infection in a total joint replacement operating room. Yet, when you bring your device home, you definitely don’t want a one year old licking MRSA off the iPad screen. It’s better to keep the iPad behind a wall of protection, and that’s what the company believes it offers with the FlipPad. They say the FlipPad provides water and chemical resistance, drop protection, and, thanks to an antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass Screen embedded with ionic silver, the device provides antimicrobial resistance. Because the silver ions are permanently embedded into the screen, the effect lasts throughout the lifetime of the device.
A Medgadget editor has tested the device for two weeks doing regular clinical work in the hospital and in the OR, and overall he was very pleased with the device. The case is easy to open and close. After a couple of inadvertent falls, the iPad has survived. The case feels very rugged, and once the device is positioned inside, it’s either surrounded by empty space or securely in contact with a very thick and sturdy looking plastic reinforced by rubber and foam.
We tested the device for splash protection by dunking the entire rig into a bucket of water for about a second. The iPad inside stayed completely dry.
The FlipPad has a specially designed rear handle that also functions as a stand. It’s very convenient when holding the device in the air, and it works well as a stand. The little openings for ports are easy to open and close, and they provide a convenient way to charge the iPad while keeping things looking neat.
The touchscreen is crystal clear and is responsive to finger input even when we tested the device with surgical gloves on. Scrolling was easy, but typing was not perfect. Using the virtual keyboard required extra pressure with and without the gloves, and felt inconvenient when we initially started using the FlipPad. After a week or so, typing became a bit more mundane.
The FlipPad is not your typical iPad case, for sure: it comes in a large box, and it’s rather bulky. It’s not for going out, but it’s for the clinical environment where functionality and safety precede beauty. We think the device could be really beneficial for clinicians on rounds and for biomed company reps who attend clinical procedures in sterile areas. It could also be useful to personnel that deal with device processing and sterilization, pathology labs, and other areas where iPads are used for inventory tracking. Morgues and dissection labs are places where FlipPads can also blossom, if you ask us.
Pros: Easy to use rugged antimicrobial case. Responsive clear glass screen. Water and chemicals resistant. Made with FDA approved materials, and, according to the company, tested with the following standard infection control sprays:
- 3000ppm Bleach for 1hr
- 0.75% Sporocidal Active Chlorine for 1hr
- 6% Hydrogen Peroxide for 1hr
- Amonium Chloride + Biguanide for 1hr
- 70% Ethanol for 1hr
Cons: Could be difficult to type, requires extra pressure. The device is not autoclavable. According to the company, “… most of the FlipPad’s materials are suitable for autoclaving, but it is not designed for or tested at this high level. We are looking at designing a version of the FlipPad that meets these standards in the future.”
Conclusion: If you need to keep your iPad perfectly clean and useful in a clinical environment, the FlipPad is about the only real choice out there. The various usability features make it practical and ergonomic for daily use, something the FlipPad has proven to us during our two weeks with it in the hospital.
Product page: FlipPad…