E-gads! Airport Scanners Harming Kindles, Say Users

Static might be the culprit, but Kindle denies any problem

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 21, 2011 12:56 AM CST | Updated Nov 21, 2011 5:32 AM CST
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(Newser) – Bad news for voracious readers. Some traveling e-bookworms are complaining that airport security scanners have harmed their Kindles, reports the Telegraph. Users of the affected Kindles say that the scanners seem to affect the electronic ink display on the e-readers, devices which are particular favorites of fliers. At least one owner suspects radiation is the culprit. But a Cambridge University electronics expert believes the radiation isn't strong enough to cause such a problem. He suspects that screens could be harmed by a build-up of static inside the scanners.

“A static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more,” said Professor Daping Chu. “That could permanently stick the particles to the screen." A Kindle spokesman dismissed the concerns. "Exposing your Kindle to an X-ray machine, such as those used by airport security, should not cause a problems," he said. "Many Kindle users travel by air, and their Kindles are screened by airport security every day without issue.” Users who have had problems report that their damaged Kindles have been replaced for free, notes the Telegraph. The bad news? Gizmodo warns that if scanner static is affecting Kindles, it will also harm other e-readers—and other electronic devices.

Kindle says thousands of devices go through scanners every day without a problem.
Kindle says thousands of devices go through scanners every day without a problem.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, FILE)
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