Amazon Kindle Damaged by Airport Scanners?


Amazon Kindle Damaged by Airport Scanners?

A handful of users in the UK have complained of their Kindles' electrophoretic ink (E Ink) screen being ruined by airports' scanning equipment.

Michael Hart, a Londoner, was reading an e-book on his Kindle while on his way to catch his flight wherein the device failed to function following a routine airport security check. "After my Kindle went through the X-ray scanner at the Madrid airport, it no longer worked. I had been reading an e-book on the way to the airport so I knew there could be no other reason," he said. 

Experts doubt that radiation levels found in airport scanners are high enough to cause damage to E Ink displays. However, they won't rule out the possibility of static electrical charges to be the real culprit instead. "I don’t think the radiation used in an airport scanner would ever be strong enough to damage an electronic ink display," asserted Professor Daping Chu, Chairman of the University of Cambridge Centre for Advanced Photonics. "But you can get a build up of static inside these machines, caused by the rubber belt rubbing. If that charge were to pass through a Kindle, it's conceivable that it could damage the screen".

Professor Chu also added that "a static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more, which may permanently stick the particles to the screen".

E Ink displays, like those used in Amazon's Kindles, deploy thousands of microcapsules consisting of magnetic black and white particles to form text and pictures. A positively-charged white particle or negatively-charged black particle are sent to the front of the display, depending on the amount of voltage applied to the capsule. 

Although Amazon has denied the allegations, they have since replaced Kindles supposedly damaged by the airport scanners.

Source: The Telegraph 

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