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Samsung releases safety disclaimer regarding the health risks of 3D viewing in Australia

Posted by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 6:51 AM
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HEALTH ALERT! Samsung releases safety disclaimer regarding the health risks of ...
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Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or ...

HEALTH ALERT! Samsung releases safety disclaimer regarding the health risks of 3D viewing in Australia

April 15, 2010 - 6:19 PM --- by: Danielle Byington

 

Samsung's AUSTRALIAN 3D TV site & the English version of the manual (one page 19) does make an attempt to inform consumers about the possible medical contraindications regarding viewing media in 3D mode on their displays, having two "fine-print" links at the top and bottom of the home page that bring you to the following information:

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION. READ THE FOLLOWING WARNINGS BEFORE YOU OR YOUR CHILD USE THE 3D FUNCTION

 

WARNING

 

Parents' careful supervision is required particularly when children or teenagers view 3D images.

 

Photosensitive Seizure Warning and Other Health Risks

 

-- Some viewers may experience an epileptic seizure or stroke when exposed to certain flashing images or lights contained in certain television pictures or video games. If you or any of your relatives has a history of epilepsy or strokes, please consult with a medical specialist before using the 3D function.

 

-- Do not watch 3D pictures when you feel incoherent, sleepy, tired or sick. Avoid watching 3D pictures for long hours.

 

-- Even those without a personal or family history of epilepsy or stroke may have an undiagnosed condition that can cause "photosensitive epileptic seizures."

 

-- If you experience any of the following symptoms immediately stop watching 3D pictures and consult a medical specialist: (1) altered vision; (2) lightheadedness; (3) dizziness; (4) involuntary movements such as eye or muscle twitching; (5) confusion; (6) nausea; (7) loss of awareness; (8) convulsions; (9) cramps; and/or (10) disorientation. Parents should monitor and ask their children about the above symptoms-children and teenagers may be more likely than adults to experience these symptoms.

 

Note that watching TV while sitting too close to the screen for an extended period of time may weaken your eyesight.

 

Note that watching TV while wearing 3D Active Glasses for an extended period of time may cause a headache or fatigue. If you feel headache, fatigue or dizziness, stop watching TV and rest.

 

Some 3D pictures may startle viewers. The pregnant, elderly, epileptic and those suffering from serious physical conditions are advised to avoid utilizing the unit's 3D functionality.

 

We don't recommend watching 3D if you are in bad physical condition, need sleep or have been drinking liquor.

 

Please take care to be aware of the world around you. This product is designed to be immersive. DO NOT use this product near open stairwells, cables, balconies, or other objects that can be tripped over, run into, knocked down, broken or fallen over. Being startled or deluding yourself into thinking that the 3D images are real may cause you to crush a nearby object or get injured trying to move your body.

 

Do not use the 3D Active Glasses for any other purpose than for which it was designed. Wearing the 3D Active Glasses for any other purpose (as general spectacles, sunglasses, protective goggles, etc.) may physically harm you or weaken your eyesight.

 

Immersive video can potentially have adverse effects on the user including motion sickness, perceptual after effects, disorientation, eye strain, and decreased postural stability. Take frequent breaks to lessen the potential of these effects, as is commonly suggested for other items, such as keyboards and computer monitors, that you may tend to fixate or concentrate on. If your eyes show signs of fatigue or dryness or if you have any of the above symptoms, immediately discontinue use of this device and do not resume using it for at least thirty minutes after the symptoms have subsided.

 

The ideal viewing distance should be three times or more the height of the screen. We recommend sitting with viewer's eyes on a level with the screen

 

Below (after the break) you'll hear more on what I think of this.
 

 

Many people probably find it worth giggling about, and say "Oh, Grandpa...", but when you take a closer look at the situation, there are other pieces to the puzzle that add food for thought. For example, Mark Pesce has been singing a SONG about the possible hazards of 3D/virtual reality simulations since the early 1990's, having been involved as a developer of a virtual reality headset Sega intended to release for the Genesis. Obviously, this headset was not released, as Pesce explained that the majority of users experienced disorientation, lightheadedness, and so forth, (basically all of the symptoms listed in the above 3D safety disclaimer) for various time spans, ranging between a few minutes to a few hours. Pesce certainly has the proper background to reasonably question the safety of 3D TV, being that it will be a similar situation to the never-released headset; it will not simply be an occasional treat like catching a 3D movie on the weekends, but instead will be available to the consumer whenever they please, thus ensues the risks of binocular dysphoria, which Pesce CLAIMS could be permanent in some cases.

 

With big-name manufacturers being on the 3D bandwagon, they do declare similar statements relevant to how their 3D technology is the most advanced to date; so, perhaps it is irrelevant for Pesce to compare the non-released virtual reality simulating headset to these 3D TV's. Then again, their "advanced" 3D technology more or less applies to how good the display will perform in your home. No matter how much better the picture quality will be, it is still a matter of our biology being interfered with by visual stimuli that could potentially crash our hard drive; our brain.

 

Most people have also heard about the Taiwanese man who died from watching "Avatar" in 3D. Most news outlets claim he had a negative cardiac history in general, and the vague excuse of "...over-excitement from watching the film..." was used. So, may be not quite the excitement of Pandora is to blame, but basically a primitive panic the brain experiences due to depth perception cues getting juggled by a false reality. Our eyes see it, but the other senses that work together to decide upon our spatial orientation are not receiving the same stimuli. The occurrence of this man's death certainly sounds more like the "excitement" was not from the plot of "Avatar", but a combination of his state of health and his body experiencing an increased heart rate from confusion as it tried to settle on his spatial orientation; thus he had a stroke, and died from a brain hemorrhage eleven days later. Technically, taking the Taiwanese man's case into consideration, it seems that there is possibly even a few medical contraindications missing from the safety disclaimer's list.

 

Bits and pieces of this information/subject can be found in various medical journals, however, the actual phenomenon of things such as "binocular dysphoria" are undefinable (with the exception of a questionable source like Wikipedia), and not exactly recognized by large groups such as the American Optometric Association, so further research at your own accord is a little difficult to extend past sources such as the home theater, movie, and general tech community.

 

On a final note regarding the 3D TV health risks, it is interesting that this safety disclaimer is quite easily found on Samsung's Australian site in multiple places, but on the American site, not exactly; if it is actually there (aside from in the PDF of the user manuals for the 3D displays). If you can find it displayed on the American site anywhere other than that let myself, and other readers know below by leaving a comment.

 

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by on Apr. 19, 2010 at 6:51 AM
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