Computer companies turn attention to ‘safe’ screens

As it gets harder to tear our eyes away from smartphones, televisions, tablets or computers, concerns are growing over a blue light emitted by their screens, blamed for harming the retina and causing interrupted sleep.

Electronics giants are turning crisis into an opportunity — quickly declaring that their latest products feature ‘safe’ screens.

At the IFA mega consumer electronics show in Berlin, Dutch company Philips is showcasing a new technology for its computer screens called softblue, which it claims is gentler on the retina.

“We are shifting the harmful blue light frequencies, which are below 450 nanometers, to above 460 nanometers,” said the company’s marketing director Stefan Sommer.

Other brands like Asus and BenQ, along with American firm ViewSonic, have also seized on ‘safe’ screens as a new selling point.

“We’ve been told from a very early age by parents that too much screen time, in front of a TV or a computer, is bad. So a ‘safe’ screen may resonate with consumers,” said Paul Gray, an analyst at IHS Global Insight.

Because it generates a relatively high intensity of light from just a low amount of energy, light-emitting diodes are used to light up smartphones, televisions or computers. But the problem is the blue ray emitted at the same time, which is feared to pose potentially serious health consequences.

Children’s eyes are most vulnerable, as their retinas are clear and they “will be exposed over 40 or 50 years”.


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