electromagnetic pollution caused by tablets

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by nilowann, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. zanchin

    zanchin Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Has any of you ever thought about the effects of the electromagnetic pollution of tablets/notebooks?
    Are there any?
    I would like to know if you made any experiences in this area.
     
  2. TabbedOut

    TabbedOut Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Never really thought about it. There has to be a measurable amount of radiation emitted by my tablet because of the Wifi and bluetooth (not to mention the radiation that is put out because I hit the 'On' switch), however it does not interfere with any of my other gadgets so it never really bothered me.
     
  3. Art

    Art Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Aside from the standard emission that laptops make?

    The only extra emissions will be the active digitizer. Short range and poor ability to penetrate material suggests it's a very weak emission.

    As for notebooks, like Tabbed said it'll mainly be Wifi and BT, and I'm fairly sure those have never proven to be anything but harmless.

    It really shouldn't be something to worry about health-wise, not compared to something like mobile phones.

    I'd like to point out I'm a skeptic about these things though. I generally think that claims about electromagnetic emissions from small devices like this are usually hype over nothing.
     
  4. schmolch

    schmolch Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Its easy to worry about things you don't understand.

    Maybe somebody could use "electromagnetic pollution" and "radiation" in the same sentence.
     
  5. TabbedOut

    TabbedOut Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    You're on

    Unlike other penetrating forms of RADIATION the "ELECTROMAGNETIC POLLUTION" from laptops has never been shown to have adverse effects on health in any peer reviewed journal.

    How's that?
     
  6. Art

    Art Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Technically they're the same thing. Just like ordinary light is radiation. It's radiated from a source, so it's radiation.

    Radiation got a bad name when nuclear weapons were invented. Like you said, it's easy to be scared of something you don't understand properly.
     
  7. schmolch

    schmolch Scribbler - Standard Member

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    You get extra points for "penetrating" :)
    Very creative!
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Mhh, the third eye on the back of my head is quite handy, people just look odd when I say that I can see what they make behind me and show them my little secret.

    The most dangerous EM radiation is, maybe, WLAN, then BT, then the whole electric, CPU, PSU, ..., then the digitizer.

    PS: What's about the display backlight and all those LEDs with their, even visible, EM waves. :eek: :D
     
  9. Spare Tire

    Spare Tire Scribbler - Standard Member

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    It's never been tried and peer reviewed.
     
  10. kureshii

    kureshii Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I don't know of any adverse health effects that can be directly attributed to tablet usage, but I'll say this:

    If I have to give up 5 years of my life for the privilege of using a tablet PC, I would still make that choice.
     
  11. ScubaX

    ScubaX Level 90 Mage Senior Member

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    If you want to worry about radiation, worry about all the radioactive material spilled into the sky everyday by coal burning electric plants. In sum it is far more than all the nuclear accidents, bombs and nuclear power plant waist put together. I'm really not concerned about my TPC, BT, WiFi or even alien radio signals.:eek:
     
  12. MioTheGreat

    MioTheGreat Pen Pal - Newbie

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    You also need to be very, very careful of the electromagnetic pollution given off by lightbulbs.

    Did you know that they give off MASSIVE amounts of radiation of hundreds of terahertz!?
     
  13. newsposter

    newsposter E295C + a pile of gadgets

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    Perhaps this thread should be renamed "Intellectual Pollution"........
     
  14. R1C47

    R1C47 Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'd say you're bull****ting.
    srsly, terahertz? WTF?
     
  15. MioTheGreat

    MioTheGreat Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I never lie about radiation!

    Lightbulbs give off (mostly) infrared and visible light, which is electromagnetic radiation. It's also in the terahertz range.



    It was just a little joke about how most people hear about radio waves, or evil 'electromagnetic radiation', but they don't actually know what it is.
     
  16. Crito

    Crito Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My union has a page devoted to this topic:
    http://www.cwa-union.org/issues/osh/articles/page.jsp?itemID=27339127

    In short, it depends on the type of radiation, the levels to which you're exposed and the duration of the exposure. For computer users there's currently no reason for concern but further study is warranted. Obviously, the PC being only a few decades old, no long-term studies have been completed.
     
  17. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I did a bit of research into this back when I got my first Wacom tablet.

    Apparently the Wacom Cintiq and Intuos tablets kick out approx 660 kHz. (I don't know what the Tablet PC Penabled digitizers operate at, but it's probably in the same kind of range. The Wikipedia article on Wacom states another number for the broadcast frequency, putting it at 531 kHz). --All at power levels far below were cells can ionize, (burn). From that perspective, the EM radiation associated with Wacom digitizers is quite safe.

    However. . , EM waveforms within a certain range do affect cells. This can be a giant debate on its own, which I don't want to get into. Let's just say for now that I've put a few thousand man hours into researching this over the last ten years and I know what I'm talking about. Luckily in this case, it all works out in favor for Wacom technology. I'll explain why. . .

    Living cells when exposed to certain (non-ionizing) EM radiation frequencies, start to behave rather oddly. Depending on the cell and the type and duration of the EM radiation they can do any number of things, like reproduce many times faster than normal, or have their cell walls become permeable or reactive to molecules they would not normally react to. They can markedly over or under-perform in otherwise normal cellular activities or activate features of their biology in chaotic and/or inappropriate manners, and just generally behave strangely. --Human and animal cells seem to exhibit these effects when exposed to EM radiation in the range of around 10 Hz up to around 500 Hz. (In case you are not familiar with this stuff, that's REALLY low on the EM spectrum. "Hz" is electronics short-hand for "Cycles per second". To give some comparison, a microwave oven emits a signal which cycles at 2450 million times per second, or 2450 MHz.)

    Above 500 Hz, the biological effects on cells seem to stop occurring. --Since Wacom digitizers are up in the hundreds of thousands of hertz, it would seem that it's outside the range of concern.

    However. . .

    It has been demonstrated that high frequency microwaves which are amplitude or frequency modulated down into the range where biological systems are affected, will carry the same effect. That is to say, a 10 MHz carrier signal which transmits data through modulation in the 100 Hz range will have the same effect as a regular 100 Hz signal on a cell. (Look up "Modulation" to understand what that is all about. It's the basic workhorse method for moving information on a signal. It's how radio, television, cell phones and WiFi work.)

    But again, Wacom digitizers don't do this.

    The good ol' Wacom digitizer doesn't emit any information at all, just a steady waveform which is many thousands of hertz above the envelope where cells are affected. It's like an empty carrier signal, and at 660 kHz, (or 531 kHz depending on what the actual figure is), it has no effect, (according to all the stuff I've researched).

    There IS another element to the Wacom digitizer signal, however. The emitted signal, according to the Wacom literature, turns on and off, "once every 20 microseconds!" That works out to 50,000 times per second, or 50 kHz. While I'm not sure exactly how the electronics work, (Wacom doesn't publish any hard schematics), they explain that the antenna array under the screen jumps between tasks; from being a transmitter to a receiver and back again. The resulting effect is that of a 660 (or 531 depending) kHz carrier signal being modulated down to 50 kHz. But this is still miles above where biological systems are affected.

    So unless I'm mistaken in all the reading I've done on this subject, it seems to me that the Wacom digitizers are not generating the kind of EM which can affect your cells in an undesirable way. If I had found the reverse to be true, it would have sucked, because we're getting to the point these days where pen digitizers are a necessity in certain areas of the graphic arts and I don't know what I would have done. (Probably moaned and complained a lot and stuck with pen and paper.) Luckily, it doesn't appear to be an issue.

    Good!

    So that's what my research offers on the subject. Hopefully this is useful to you. If anybody has any other information to add, I would be happy to hear it.

    (Notes: an excellent source on this stuff is Robert O. Becker's book, "Cross Currents" http://www.amazon.com/Cross-Currents-Robert-O-Becker/dp/0874776090 --Twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, Becker is an orthopedic surgeon and full professor at the State University of New York, Upstate Medical Center, and Louisiana State University Medical Center. He has collected much of the information known about the effects of EM radiation on biological systems into one place and wrote a book about it. I'd recommend it to anybody interested in the low down on EM, and I wish I'd found it much earlier in my study of all this stuff!)

    --Cheers!
     
  18. RazzNuts

    RazzNuts Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I believe in order to enter a country's market (legally ;) ) every electronic product must have passed sequence of tests done by special government body (like FCC in US).

    I don't think body like FCC will pass any 'relatively hazardous cell-penetrating radioactive emitting' electronic device to market so easily. (Well anything could happen in this world, say an Alien managed to waltzed-up while carrying a radioactive bomb concealed as a Tablet PC LOL).

    Every device that uses electromagnetic must also emit the so-called pollution, In most case, Governments have certain policy that specify maximum amount of 'pollution' (like SAR specification) are allowed for every device.

    I'm no expert LOL, but those are from what I read, at least. :D
     
  19. Frank

    Frank Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    @thatcomicsguy
    Sorry, but either I did not understand your post or you're wrong on many aspects.
    1. It's possible that cells behave strange if they are near an EM source which generates a low frequency. But, how strong must the energy of this EM waves be? That's the interesting point.
    2. Wacom uses EM waves to transfer informations, like pen pressure, buttons pressed and maybe other things, too.
    3. Cells can get damaged or manipulated by higher frequencies than those 500Hz, too.
    Just think about your microwave oven. The frequency is around 2,4GHz and the energy of those EM waves is very high. Without shielding it would heat anything near itself, like the person which activates the oven. You can also heat flesh inside such an oven. And flesh also consists of cells. So a mircowave oven can damage or manipulate human cells, too. The US army also uses microwaves as weapon against demonstrators.
    If you increase the frequency even further, we get in the range of UV-Light which can cause a sunburn. If we go above 30 petahertz then we'll call this X-ray, and it's a known fact that X-Ray does not only manipulate cells but also the Genome.
    And so on. So the frequency is important, yes, but the energy of the EM wave too. And high frequency EM waves can cause cell damage or manipulation, too.

    But back to Wacom.

    I don't know how much energy the EM waves in the Wacom digitizer have, but it won't be a lot. It will be much less than a mobile phone uses, much less than the EM waves of a radio signal has, much less than your WLan router emits.
    The reach is also very limited. So it won't be harmful. And it's also not as if you will sit in front of your tablet 24 hours per day.

    And as RazzNuts said, the FCC sets a few limits (fairly unrealistic high limits, however, at least limits at all) and Wacom does not exceed them which is a good sign, too.
     
  20. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I don't like to get too caught up in this kind of discussion as it can rapidly get huge and angry, and I've seen and done it all before. But I will try to answer your questions quickly since they are all quite easy to address. . .

    The signal strength needs to be able to penetrate deeply enough into the body to have an effect. It is not easy to say what minimum power level is required for penetration because it's a moving target. Different frequencies find different materials more or less resistive to penetration. In any case, all of the effects I was mentioning took place well below the point were any damage due to heating occurs, i.e., very low power.

    If I understand the technology properly, then information derived from the stylus comes in the form of what amounts to an analog feedback loop. The IC board under the screen portion of a Wacom tablet digitizer is where the field sampling and calculations take place. (Around 130 times per second).

    Essentially, the pen resonates with the transmitted 'carrier' signal coming from the screen portion of the digitizer, creates an electromagnetic field which in turn is detected by the tablet antenna array. From the shape and location of that field the under-screen antenna determines the various information required by the computer. --For instance, if a pen button is depressed, then the IC board in the pen directs the field being generated to 'bend' or otherwise alter slightly, and the tablet, while still being able to follow the X, Y location of the pen nib, also detects that the field shape/intensity has changed, and this is how a button press is communicated. That information isn't broadcast as a digital packet from the pen but is rather derived from changes in the pen's resonant field.

    How that relates to the question of what kind of EM is being output is simply that there is no deliberate broadcast created by a button push or change in the X, Y, axis which would appear as a signal in the 10 - 500 Hz range, (or modulated into that frequency). Rather, the stylus merely reflects back the native 'carrier' frequency as an altered shape rather than a series of discrete pulses. It's quite an elegant system, all told.


    You seem to have a firm grasp on the concept and I don't really see what you are disagreeing with. Ionizing EM radiation is of course damaging at both low and high frequencies. But I had hoped I was clear in stating that I was only talking about non-ionizing EM radiation, which within the lower frequencies can still affect cells even if it doesn't cause burning. This is the big issue with modulated Cell phone EM which is similarly non-ionizing; even though it does not cause burning should not be taken to mean that it is not having an effect on cellular health and activity.

    That was my conclusion as well. I simply felt it would be useful to explain the way I reached that conclusion.

    Cheers!
     

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