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10/04/2010

Warning: Don’t get hot and bothered by your laptop

If you’re someone who often uses a laptop where its name implies - on your lap - you might want to change that habit. Especially if you like to have nice legs.

 

A report today in a medical journal suggests using a laptop on your lap could cause serious harm to your body due to the amount of heat it produces.

Pediatrics found people are coming down with something called “Toasted Skin Syndrome” because their portable computers are getting so hot on their body.

Laptop_cooling To save you from searching for pictures of the aforementioned medical condition, imagine dipping a sponge in red paint, then dabbing that on your leg. That’s apparently what laptops can cause.

According to one published report, a boy had discolouration on his left thigh after playing video games for several hours a day for many months. A law student got the condition after using her laptop for six hours a day.

The doctor in that case took a temperature measurement on her leg and found the laptop heated things up to the tune of 52 degrees Celcius. It’s not known if she toasted her morning bagel on said laptop, though it might have conserved energy. When things get that hot, they can also damage a man’s sperm production too.

On a more personal level, a friend of mine went to see his doctor for discomfort “down there.” Sure enough, he had what his doctor said were “heat scars.” The cause? Falling asleep while watching movies on his laptop.

You can’t really blame people for using laptops on their laps - can you? Computers are also producing more heat with dual-core processors being found in most portable computers. If the cooling vents are blocked with lint or your leg, you can bet your laptop will start producing enough heat to melt ice in the middle of winter.

This doesn’t mean you should stop computing - but try and find something to put between you and your hot and steamy personal computer.

If you’re cheap - start by using a magazine or a newspaper as a heat barrier. Or step up the comfort and safety with a laptop pad.

The Belkin CushPad is a nice, soft cushion that rests between your legs and a laptop. Its soft bottom sits nice and stable on your legs while the hard surface on top provides a steady home for your computer. It’s got an MSRP of $29.99.

If you want something a little slimmer, and a little cooler for your computer, I recommend the Targus Lap Chill Mat. It’s not as soft on your legs but it comes with dual fans that blow hot air away from the bottom of your computer. MSRP of $39.99.

Do you find your laptop gets uncomfortably hot? What do you do to alleviate the heat?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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