Could An Airport Scanner Ruin Your Kindle?

Users claim static buildup damaging the e-ink displays

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Could An Airport Scanner Ruin Your Kindle?
[ Technology]

Apparently, you should be careful this holiday season when you travel with your Kindle. According to reports from users, something is ruining their electronic ink displays when they pass through security.

The Telegraph claims that multiple users have reported their devices going wonky after passing through the X-ray scanners at airports. One such user said that after his Kindle took a ride through a scanner in Madrid, the display was permanently affected. He said that he was using the e-reader to read a book just before this, so it has to be the scanner.

Could X-rays be damaging Amazon’s Kindle e-ink displays?

According to a Cambridge professor quoted in the report, probably not. He says that a build up of static electricity could actually be what’s messing with the Kindles. He says that the low level of radiation used in airport scanners is unlikely to be able to cause the type of damage that people are reporting.

Here’s what Professer Daping Chu had to say:

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. A static charge from an airport scanner could be 100 volts or more. That could permanently stick the particles to the screen.

It shouldn’t surprise you that Amazon has denied these allegations. They claim that the X-ray scanner machines pose no threat to their e-readers.

Exposing your Kindle to an X-ray machine, such as those used by airport security, should not cause and problems with it. Many Kindle users travel by air, and their Kindles are screened by airport security every day without issue.

That’s true. This is the first we’ve really heard of anything like this and the e-ink displays have been in use for quite some time. It’s possible that people’s bags could protect the devices. Maybe the people reporting problems put their Kindle directly on the belt.

The users claim that Amazon is quietly replacing the Kindles that are being damaged.

Could there be a Kindle-killer out there in one of the most popular places to take a Kindle? It looks like it’s at least a possibility. One would think that if this were 100% accurate, there would be more stories about this happening than we’d know what to do with. But if I had a Kindle, I’d probably proceed with caution next time I’m flying.

Has anything like this happened to you? Let us know in the comments.

Could An Airport Scanner Ruin Your Kindle?
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  • http://talentattach.com kento

    That picture is shop’d. Boooo.

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford


  • Andrew Wootton

    RE airport scanners wrecking Kindle
    My Sat-Nav does not log on to sattelites properly now, that is after letting it go through airport x-ray

  • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

    Seems like an easy test to see if it’s true or not. If it is, then why not offer a tray in which static is repealed from the unit for scanning purposes? Or even a case which does the same.

  • J Smith

    What a bad Photoshop job. I doubt that the effects of the scanners, if real, would warp the bezel of the device (see top near Amazon logo). And apparently it’s happened to Jeff Bazos himself.

  • Quizzard

    I can’t see it. My kindle has gone through scanners in Canada, the US, and Europe dozens of times now, usually in the bins provided, occasionally in my everyday carry on bag, and nothing has ever happened. If this DOES happen, it’s got to be some flaw in the individual scanner, not the Kindle.

    Or it has nothing to do with the scanner at all.

  • kindle lover

    I am very impressed with my new Kindle Fire. It’s lightweight, easy to use and has a great interface. I haven’t had any x-ray scanning issues either and I do a lot of air travel. First thing I installed was the nook app for free Android (instructions at www.kindlemad.com through google).

    It basically unlocks all the Android marketplace apps and unlocks the device. I’m very pleased with the device.

  • http://www.lipu-china.com jaw crusher and ball mill

    The users claim that Amazon is quietly replacing the Kindles that are being damaged.

  • Ken Mines

    In January 2012 my wife and I both went through airports with Kindles. When she arrived at our holiday destination and switched on her Kindle the screen was damaged – part was blanked out with lines running across it, when switched on the same happened – only half the screen was visible.

    Mine was OK after both going out and coming back. However, a week later the same happened – my screen was only half visible. Both Kindles had been kept in padded covers throughout.

    I contacted Amazon. Since our Kindles were just over 12 months old they said we would have to pay £40 for each replacement. However, when I pressed them they agreed as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to replace both free.

    Although this resolves my immediate problem, it doesn’t deal with the main issue, namely the repeated failure of so many Kindles. Either they are being damaged by airport scanners, or they are failing because of some other cause – either way, they need to find out and fix it soon before confidence in this product collapses. On hearing our experience already several members of our local book club have decided not to go ahead and buy a Kindle for themselves.

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