Why Do Doctors Advise Against Using Laptops On The Lap?

Laptop not to be placed atop the lap? Paradox indeed!

Whether due to the demand of dynamic work roles played by a corporate office goer, or because of the myriad uses a laptop is put to by consumers across all ages, it plays a major role in the life of majority of the computer savvy population.

In this scenario, doctors all over the world are increasingly warning people to not place the laptop on the lap while working on it. The effects of not paying heed to this crucial bit of advice ranges from as minor as thermal radiation-induced injuries to as major as cancer.

Let us study the adverse effects of working on the Laptop while it is placed on your lap:

Thermal dangers:

Thermal or heat-related dangers caused by ionizing type of radiation.

Toasted Skin Syndrome: Prolonged use of any gadget causes it to heat up as the internal components work that much harder to perform their assigned tasks. A laptop is no different. As the laptop steadily radiates heat, the thighs take the toll as the heat gets transmitted to them directly.  Constant exposure to this heat can cause a clinical condition called‘erythema abigne’,toasted skin syndrome, in simple language. Swiss doctors call it ‘laptop-induced dermatosis’. A health condition named after the laptop? Well, something to think about! It begins with slight reddishness of the skin and slowly turns into an ugly blotchy rash if the use is not discontinued. Equally, the condition improves when further exposure to the heat is prevented.

Male fertility issues: This is the most serious effect caused in men, if laptop is placed on the lap while in use.The scrotum of a man gets exposed to the trapped heat, and with the air flow cut off (where the legs are held together), the pelvis area is exposed to high thermal radiation thus posing a great health hazard.  With just four hours of exposure, a drastic reduction in the sperm motility and increase in sperm DNA fragmentation was observed.

Long term cancer risks: Not just severely affecting the fertility in a man, the danger of testicular cancer cannot be ruled out. DNA damage turns out to be a precursor to cancer.

  Non-thermal dangers:

The non-thermaldangers are of non-ionizing kind. The radiation here is due to the Electro Magnetic waves emitted by the device. In a gauss meter, the electromagnetic emissions of a laptop exceed 200 milligauss, whereas the safe ranges are set at 0.3 milligauss.

Necessary precautions that need to be taken while working with a laptop:

  • Instead of placing it on the lap, it is advisable to keep it on a desk, 20 cm from the body.
  • If placed on the lap, a thermal insulator be placed first, on which the laptop can be kept.
  • This should not be a blanket or a pillow, as they block the air vents and further heat up the laptop thus causing the internal components to get fried.
  • A flat and hard surface should preferably be used as the base of the laptop. On stackexchange the top answer is to have a thick book on your lap.
  • Laptop cooling pads are now available in the market for this very purpose.

How To Clean The Cooling Fan Of Your Laptop

Laptops over a period time accumulate lot of dust particles both inside and outside. One of the major areas where these laptop store lot of dust particles is the cooling fan of the laptop. These fans installed on the bottom of the laptop require regular check and maintenance to perform to the fullest. Since the laptop fans perform constantly since the time the laptop is turned on, they are the most critical components of the laptop. If they do not function properly then it can result in your laptop getting heated up abnormally which can even cause a system crash. Find tips and tricks to know how to maintain the cooling fan of your laptop. Before you get started keep a small screwdriver, soft brush and vacuum cleaner handy.

  1. Turn off the laptop completely. Unplug all the power supplies from the laptop.
  2. Flip the laptop upside down and remove the battery from the laptop
  3. Locate the air vent on the laptop. These vents are generally found on the outer edge of the laptop.
  4. There would be a panel fitted on top on the air vent. Unscrew the panel and dismantle it.
  5. Once the panel is removed from the laptop you should be able to see the fan inside the laptop.
  6. You can use a facial tissue or a soft cloth to remove the dust on the fan initially before you start deep cleaning of the fan. The dust particle strands can be pulled out easily.
  7. Now, you can use some air to blow the hard dust out of the laptop. You can use a vacuum cleaner with low power in the blow mode to blow air onto the dust particles or just blow hard through your mouth to loosen the dust particles.
  8. Once the dust particles are loose, you can use a soft brush to clean the fan. Use gentle and small strokes to wipe out the dust from the fan.
  9. Make sure you clean it in all directions and at different angles.
  10. Care should be taken so that the dust from the rotating fan doesn’t enter the laptop.
  11. During the process of cleaning, you can perform the blowout step outside so that you do not dirty the area in the house with dirt.
  12. When you are cleaning the fan, if you find hard dirt use the vacuum air or your mouth to loosen it and again stroke it with a brush to wipe out the remaining dust.
  13. Ensure you do not use the vacuum cleaner very near to the fan. Strong wind of air from the vacuum cleaner can damage the fan. If the fan is damaged then the only option is to replace it.
  14. Once you have blown out all the dust and removed the particles from the fan you need to replace the components as before.
  15. Replace the panel and screw it firmly.
  16. Plug in the power and start your laptop.

Why Are Some Laptops More Durable Than The Others?

stock-photo-28452676-a-businessman-lifting-a-computer-monitorThere is nothing worse than buying new gear that malfunctions shortly after you purchase it. Many toys that I buy for my son barely make it home from the store in one piece.   In general, choosing a laptop is all about performance, storage, speed and the various features. Durability becomes an essential factor when it’s likely that the laptop is going to be subjected to a lot of bumps, spills and knocks during travel or any such similar situations. If you buy a laptop, you are going to want to keep it for a few years at least. Durability is most definitely a critical consideration in such scenarios.  Just like men, some laptops are more rugged than others. In both cases it is interesting to learn what makes some different from the other.

The term rugged generally means it’s ready to overcome obstacles and face challenges over and above what a regular and standard device would.  How can the ‘ruggedness’ be measured or calculated?

The US military, which cares about how much abuse a device can take, has set a standard – MIL-STD 810G – as a guide to determine how rugged or durable a device can be. It consists of a set of 28 tests that include anything from exposure to extreme temperature to gunfire. The tests vary on the device to be tested. Factors include size, weight and the intended use of the device. Laptops, when tested, go through eight to eleven MIL-STD such as such as extreme temperatures, rain, humidity, sand and dust, immersion, shock, solar radiation, etc.

A frequent sentiment on the internet – Mac laptops are pricier, but they last longer. But where does this assumption come from? During comparison of two systems, concerning processor, storage, design, etc., you will still encounter an experience in which Mac seems to last longer than some others.

Most laptops are fairly delicate instruments, but some are more designed to withstand pressure as opposed to others. When I did my research for buying a new gaming laptop, I noticed that the design of gaming laptops often are more durable than on other laptops. After more research on the subject, I noticed some laptops have the ability to survive even after they fall on concrete.  Part of the difference is in the overall construction of the system.

  • Metal casings tend to be stronger than the plastic ones
  • Traditional hard drives can be damaged if jostled around too much
  • Solid state drives have no moving parts and therefore, are less likely to break
  • Some hard drives are gel-mounted or protected by shock-absorbing dampers
  • Keyboards can be designed to withstand spilling of fluids.
  • Ruggedized laptops are often made up of magnesium or aluminium alloy. These materials are more durable than plastic. Such laptops also claim to be damage free if they are dropped from a height (max. 30 inches).
  • Some have sturdy internal frames and wear-resistant exteriors
  • Some devices sport carbon-fibre reinforcement frames, break-resistant screens and other enhancements that keep them going for years

Some devices are built to survive everything from semi-rugged environments to the wear and tear of travel, business or otherwise, while they stay looking good and performing flawlessly for years. They ought to be built to withstand life. The right design enables the laptop to run more smoothly, throughout the lifetime of the system.

Placing Your Laptop Well To Avoid Backaches

The turn of the century has seen an amplified increase in the use of laptops all over. On the upside, a laptop has made work life more flexible, time more manageable, hobbies and interests pursuable, and the lives more enjoyable, but on the downside, the use of laptop has brought in many orthopedic ailments, back and neck ache topping the list therein.

Though conveniently portable, the way the laptop is built causes some serious posture issues. The main disadvantage in the structure of the laptop is that the keyboard and the screen are attached together.

So, on one hand, if the screen has to be placed at the eye level for convenient viewing, the keyboard gets elevated, thus causing inconvenience in working on the laptop with much pain to the shoulder and arm muscles. On the other hand, if the keyboard needs to be at such a height that the body does not bend too forward to operate, the screen goes below the eyelevel causing intolerable pain and inconvenience to the neck bones and muscles.

The solution to this dilemma is not too difficult. By following the tips suggested here, one can derive the pleasure of working on a laptop without adversely affecting the body:

  • Screen height: To avoid any pressure on the neck, screen should be raised to just below eye level. This can be achieved either by positioning the laptop on a laptop mount or by placing a few books under it. The screen should always be placed at an arm’s length away. Increasing text size helps from slouching forward.
  • Keyboard and Mouse: Separate keyboard and mouse should be used. This would eliminate hunching ahead to reach the laptop’s in built keyboard.
  • Arm position: Keep wrists and arms relaxed with tension in the back, shoulders and arms relieved. Arms should be kept by the side, directly under shoulders. Sitting close to the desk is advisable to avoid stretching out to reach the keyboard and the mouse.
  • Head position: Head weighs the heaviest in our body. With improper head position, the shoulders and neck bear the brunt. In order to avoid any pressure on your neck, the head needs to be relaxed, with chin pointing down.
  • Armrest and seat height: Armrest height should support arms so that they are placed in level with the desk. The seat height should be such that there is no pressure on the legs. Knees are to be kept slightly lower than the hips, with feet flat on the floor by using footrest where needed.
  • Seat depth: The seat should be comfortable padded for long hours of sitting down. The thighs should be completely supported with the seat adjusted to fit just behind the knees.
  • Backrest: To relieve the tension in the back, the backrest height should be such that it cradles your lumbar curve or the curve in the lower back.
  • Taking breaks: Every once in a while, short breaks need to be taken to stretch and relax the muscles that have gone sore and stiff.