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According to the Daily Mail, there have been reports of X-ray machines scrambling Kindle screens, despite Amazon's claims that it is impossible. Can X-ray machines have this effect?

  • Apparently there have only been a handful of people lamenting that. And last time I was on a plane I saw at least 10 people using a Kindle (or similar). It sounds to me like the screen of those Kindles simply failed for whatever reason and that, absolutely by chance, happened to coincide with the security check. – nico Mar 24 '12 at 13:01
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    My sample size of 2 (I have two Kindles) has never experienced any screen scrambling with my trips from the US to the EU. – Darwy Mar 24 '12 at 14:03
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    Could it be mechanical damage instead of X-ray damage? Excessive force on small electronic screens will tend to "smash" rather than "scramble", but this could very easily happen at an airport checkpoint as luggage tumbles around. – Paul Apr 1 '12 at 5:14
  • I have a Kindle and regularly send it through X-ray scanners at the airport. Still working fine, too. My guess is people send it with the rest of the luggage and in the process, it cracks or breaks. – Dante Jul 6 '12 at 3:44
  • The pattern on a Kindle screen after getting stepped on is definitely something I'd call "scrambled" - like someone overlaid various Moire patterns on top of whatever was on the screen at the time it broke. As the article has no pictures it's hard to say. – user792 Jul 8 '12 at 15:17
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Likely not (beyond the normal static shock associated with rubber conveyor belts).

I can bring two pieces of evidence I find convincing even though not as definitive as a full blown experiment:

  1. This video which shows a Kindle safely going through an X-Ray machine at an airport without damage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBg_5G2YEDg

  2. The expert opinion of Professor Daping Chu, Head of the Photonics & Sensors Group in the Electrical Engineering Division, Cambridge University Engineering Department.

    “I don’t think the radiation used in an airport scanner would ever be strong enough to damage an electronic ink display,” said 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.”

    Amazon Kindles 'damaged by airport scanners' -- The Telegraph

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