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Old 01-25-2011, 07:22 AM #1
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Default Kinect Safety...?

So sorry to disturb with my basic question as I am completely ignorant but I would greatly appreciate your kind wisdom, knowledge, and experience:

I got a Kinect/Xbox360 package and played it for approximately 3 hours. I noticed a reddish light on the device but it did not disturb me at first. Later my eyes started to hurt slightly.

When I had talked to Microsoft reps who were demonstrating the product prior to it's release, they simply said it was a infrared light source. After my 3 hour session and subsequent discomfort, I did some googling, I found that actually it is a Class 1 laser.

According to OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) - Section III: Chapter VI: Laser Hazards, "Accident data on laser usage have shown that Class I, Class II, Class I.A., and Class IIIA lasers are normally not considered hazardous from a radiation standpoint unless illogically used. Direct exposure on the eye by a beam of laser light should always be avoided with any laser, no matter how low the power."

My question, is that since OSHA states that no matter how low the power, lasers should never be directed at the eye, the Microsoft Kinect device does actually use a laser to track the entire body, exposing the eyes to it's energy.

Even if the energy is low intensity, since the duration could be for long periods of time, over years, and is in the infrared part of the spectrum, which does not result in a blink reflex, so the eye is continuously exposed which might result in long term damage? Also was the fact that many children might be using this device ever considered?

I was very impressed with the technology and fun of the kinect system. However I feel that it might be jeopardizing the public eye safety. I would greatly appreciate your input into this matter.

Thank you,

A (former) kinect user



Last edited by kinectuser; 01-25-2011 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:37 AM #2
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

I've never owned or played on the Kinect system but I have taken a look at one.

From what I can tell, it is a ~780nm laser and is of relatively low power.
While directing any laser into the eye is a bad idea, this laser does not seem to be collimated the way laser pointers are.
Taken from the link you provided:
Quote:
Class I: cannot emit laser radiation at known hazard levels (typically continuous wave: cw 0.4 W at visible wavelengths). Users of Class I laser products are generally exempt from radiation hazard controls during operation and maintenance (but not necessarily during service).
The beam diverges at a wide angle, so power density is low, especially at less than 0.4 W.

This means to me that you will not sustain any permanent damage from the laser used in the Kinect - assuming you are using it 'properly.'

When you step outside on a sunny day your eyes are being exposed to much, much more light than the diode in the Kinect is producing.
Don't worry.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:22 AM #3
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kinectuser View Post
So sorry to disturb with my basic question as I am completely ignorant but I would greatly appreciate your kind wisdom, knowledge, and experience:

I got a Kinect/Xbox360 package and played it for approximately 3 hours. I noticed a reddish light on the device but it did not disturb me at first. Later my eyes started to hurt slightly.

When I had talked to Microsoft reps who were demonstrating the product prior to it's release, they simply said it was a infrared light source. After my 3 hour session and subsequent discomfort, I did some googling, I found that actually it is a Class 1 laser.

According to OSHA Technical Manual (OTM) - Section III: Chapter VI: Laser Hazards, "Accident data on laser usage have shown that Class I, Class II, Class I.A., and Class IIIA lasers are normally not considered hazardous from a radiation standpoint unless illogically used. Direct exposure on the eye by a beam of laser light should always be avoided with any laser, no matter how low the power."

My question, is that since OSHA states that no matter how low the power, lasers should never be directed at the eye, the Microsoft Kinect device does actually use a laser to track the entire body, exposing the eyes to it's energy.

Even if the energy is low intensity, since the duration could be for long periods of time, over years, and is in the infrared part of the spectrum, which does not result in a blink reflex, so the eye is continuously exposed which might result in long term damage? Also was the fact that many children might be using this device ever considered?

I was very impressed with the technology and fun of the kinect system. However I feel that it might be jeopardizing the public eye safety. I would greatly appreciate your input into this matter.

Thank you,

A (former) kinect user
The retina does not have pain receptors, therefore it is incapable of feeling 'pain' in the traditional sense.

The pain felt when the retina is hit by an extremely high-powered laser is caused by part of the retina bursting (or vapoursing, depending on the power of the laser).

What you are probably experiencing is eyestrain, not retinal damage. Eyestrain after a 3 hour session is a likely occurrence, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is indeed eyestrain. Some people experience it more than others, and most video game systems you will find recommend taking a break every few hours.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:25 AM #4
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

In fact, to clarify, it's a Class I 780nm laser going through a number of line generators and then a diffraction grating.

So not only is it Class I, it's basically twice-diffused class I.

So to put your mind at rest, and to further back what RA_Pierce is saying; looking at a single modern "high brightness" LED would be exposing you to more radiation than what's hitting you with that Class I laser and grating.

I'm not sure why your eyes started to hurt, but it wasn't the Kinect. But good on you to check, really, and I hope LPF helped ease some concern on the matter, at least.
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:01 PM #5
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aryntha View Post
In fact, to clarify, it's a Class I 780nm laser going through a number of line generators and then a diffraction grating.

So not only is it Class I, it's basically twice-diffused class I.

So to put your mind at rest, and to further back what RA_Pierce is saying; looking at a single modern "high brightness" LED would be exposing you to more radiation than what's hitting you with that Class I laser and grating.

I'm not sure why your eyes started to hurt, but it wasn't the Kinect. But good on you to check, really, and I hope LPF helped ease some concern on the matter, at least.
LPE is fantastic. Just reading about lasers seemed quite fantastic so I picked up some of the jargon to put into my post.

First, I want to express my thanks to everyone who has replied. I am very much appreciative.

Second, I am not a doctor or medical professional. The workout I got from the Kinect was exhausting and I guess it could have been staring at anything for that period of time was, as you said, the real cause of my pain.

I beg your patience and ask for further details.
Quote:
"A single modern 'high brightness LED would be exposing you to more radiation that what hitting you with that Class I laser and grating"
I am not sure what this means.

I am typing this reply on a LED back lit computer monitor (Dell G2410). Is the radiation (or maybe the light energy released from the G2410) about the same or less danger (harm) to my eyes as the Kinect LED?

My understanding is that my LED monitor is regular non-concentrated light, while the Kinect, even though it is an LED, it is not releasing regular light, but light of a single wavelength (i.e. Laser) even though diffracted, is still a laser. Plus it light is distributed over the entire viewing surface of the monitor unlike the Kinect LED based laser which is clearly shown in this video here as a whole bunch of concentrated dots of light.

Also I am misunderstand this:
Quote:
When you step outside on a sunny day your eyes are being exposed to much, much more light than the diode in the Kinect is producing.Don't worry
.
Is that comparison to be based upon looking directly at the sun or snow reflected sunlight? In that case, aren't we recommended to wear sunglasses and avoid to direct viewing of the light. I know I am being a bit or a worry wort.

So is a twice diffused Class-1 laser means that the harm to the eyes (as lasers are hitting the eyeballs) one's be half the damage the a Class-1 laser produces or does it become non-existent?

If a bright incandescent light bulb was shining directly in my eyes, it would eventually hurt/harm after a while (afterburn I think the term is, the bright light would still appear in my eyes even after I closed them). There is no marking/warning label on the Kinect box that there was a laser inside. There are also safety glasses for that type of laser power/wavelength (???), albeit expensive if I had to outfit my entire family with them. If this Kinect laser power/wavelength was so innocuous, why would they have safety glasses for lasers of that power/wavelength?

The question boils down to this: Would you point a Class-1 laser that passes through a "number of line generators and a diffraction grating" into someone's eye of someone who stands between 4-6 feet away, every day, for several hours (with breaks in between), for a couple of years, including someone who is a child. Or is it as safe as watching a LED TV.

Sincerely,

Ex-Kinect User

Last edited by kinectuser; 01-25-2011 at 04:11 PM. Reason: There were more posts to read..
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Old 01-25-2011, 06:07 PM #6
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

You stand in front of that much 780 every time you go out on a sunny day from scattered sunlight off the ground.

Your not going to have cumulative effects at .4 uW of 780. Sunlight is one kilowatt per square meter and perhaps 5% of that is near infrared ie 700 to 1000 nanometers, so your eye will have no problems at that small power for decades of exposure. Near IR has been shown to contribute to tissue healing in many circumstances, so I would NOT worry about it.

TVs and Monitors are closely watched by various health organizations in the world, and I would not worry much about the current generation, other then eyestrain from too much typing in internet forums.

Your fine, go play Kinect, you probably need the exercise, just keep it to short periods of time to avoid eyestrain. If your monitor was too small, while dancing at a distance, you probably picked up some eye strain from where you are not used to watching such a small target while moving. As a former teacher, I can assure you, many people need corrective lenses for some tasks and some of them will not know it till their eye ages for decades.

It was NOT the very low power IR laser causing you issues. You have no structure in your eye that can detect 780. There will be a weak glow from non laser light coming from the laser port at some times. It is a fraction of the strength of the laser, and is incoherent light from the lasing process.


As for IR from that weak laser after several diffusers, a holographic optic and line generators, yes, all day, every day, for the rest of my life, provided I am one meter or more from the source. I If you need credentials to make you happy, I have eight years nine months as a de facto university lab laser safety officer with extensive experience with laser, arc, solid state, and thermal light sources.

If you have any doubts, skip the WIKI hype and get a copy of "Safety with Lasers and Other Optical Sources" by Dr David Sliney.

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Old 01-25-2011, 06:36 PM #7
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kinectuser View Post
I know I am being a bit or a worry wort.
The only thing you'll accomplish by worrying that much about your kinect usage is a premature head of gray hair. Don't worry, have fun!
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:53 AM #8
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Hi ive just registered because ive reached this site in the same situation. Some kind of weird eyestrain after playing kinect 4 or 5 times for around 1 hour. And in fact ive found lot of ppl asking the same after felling some weird effects. There is a guy in official xbox forums who say he sees some geometrical pattern after playing, and that could be kinect pattern used to map depth.

So im now more confident after reading this post and specially LSRFAQ last message. BUT i think this feedback uses a theory to stand.

That kinect laser output is what is said by its class.

Ive found a message from someone saying he is working in laser certification and that kinect laser power is by far greater than stated, and that he cannot understand how this device got class 1 certification.

Other ppl just say that althoug it is diffracted the pattern does in fact concentrate beam on each tiny dot of the pattern and that those dots are far too powerfull and are proyected all over you.

I think myself if maybe there is someone here that can put in the same room:

a kinect device
tools to measure exactly the output of every part of the pattern at close to 0 range
and his knowledge to judge the outcome of the experiment

it could do for a very interesting article which would attract thousand of visitors a day as concerns are spreading on the web.

Here you have links and that guy opinion on this


Anyone else experiencing vision problems from Xbox Kinect laser? - Gaming - Stack Exchange

Re: Eye trouble after using Kinect, due to IR laser? - Xbox.com

Gil-o-topia: How does the Kinect really work?

Anonim spunea...
I just acquire a Kinect and made some incredible measurements. The laser output power is about 40mW to 60mW, i.e. it exceeds hundred times the class 1 limit. Moreover this is an IR light so there is no blink reflex that could protect the eye. Although the diffractive optical element - that generate the strutured dot pattern for 3D measurement- separates the incident laser beam into thousand of low power beams, at short distance (few centimeters) all this power is focused on the retina. I've been involved in laser product certification, and I can't understand how Microsoft got this class 1 . For me this is a very dangerous device and I would recommand to certificationnever look at the laser dot pattern at less than 50cm. Take care with the children.

20 decembrie 2010, 16:52


I cannot think of any other community better than this to shed some light on this.
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Old 02-28-2011, 03:17 PM #9
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Hi all,

I just registered in order to point out a flaw in the final post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by userwords
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonim spunea
I would recommand to certificationnever look at the laser dot pattern at less than 50cm.
This person is talking about standing less than 2 feet from the sensor, when it says in the "on-screen" warnings of how to use the kinect that you should stand between 2 - 6 feet from the sensor, I believe. I looked up how many centimeters are in one foot and found out that a foot consists of 30.48 centimeters. 30.48 times two (which would be two feet) turns out to be 60.96 centimeters, which is over the 50 centimeters that this person was referring to.
I have a kinect myself and am open to criticism (just not rudeness). Feel free to add to this.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:48 PM #10
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

If the measurement of ~50 mW is true, i still don't see how it could be dangerous in normal use. Its 50 mW of total light scattered into numerous beams. I'm not sure about the exact number, but if its 10 x 10 you'd be looking at 0.5 mW per beam. At 780 nm i doubt you'd notive looking directly into it, perhaps a faint red glow if you are particularly sensitive to NIR.

To be at any risk of eye damage you'd probably have to put your eye right in font of the sensor, not more then an inch away from the grating. That's probably not a good idea, but then again, you should put your eye an inch from a car's highbeam either.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:03 PM #11
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

""Anonim spunea...
I just acquire a Kinect and made some incredible measurements. The laser output power is about 40mW to 60mW, i.e. it exceeds hundred times the class 1 limit. Moreover this is an IR light so there is no blink reflex that could protect the eye. Although the diffractive optical element - that generate the strutured dot pattern for 3D measurement- separates the incident laser beam into thousand of low power beams, at short distance (few centimeters) all this power is focused on the retina. I've been involved in laser product certification, and I can't understand how Microsoft got this class 1 . For me this is a very dangerous device and I would recommand to certificationnever look at the laser dot pattern at less than 50cm. Take care with the children.""


I can see how this comment is scaring people. The only way he could test the Diode like that would be to take it out. He even States that "Although the diffractive optical element - that generate the strutured dot pattern for 3D measurement- separates the incident laser beam into thousand of low power beams," He could not test the real output of the diode if he was testing what really comes out of the Kinect Unit because it has the Diffraction Optical element affecting the beam.

So as I do not know 100% if this is true but it seems (to me) he took the diode out and ran it on his own Driver and then tested the output before it gos into the Optical Element.

If thats the case and he didn't test what the kinect is outputting properly and just took the diode and ran it on his own driver. So if thats the case he could be putting more current into the diode and getting a very different reading than what the kinect is doing.

IMO if he was really going to do this test he would have a lot more information on how and what he really tested...

Just sounds fishy to me, someone might be able to answer this better than my self...

I happen to have a kinect and a LPM and will test it later today, give a more tested response,

I will run a few tests to see if the IR light coming out of "THE KINECT" device it self..... I will not open it up and do any more detailed than that tho
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Above >100 mW you can burn your retina off any glossy surface just Reflecting The Beam off to your Eye!It's More Than Just a Mirror that you need to be Careful Of!!
And remember There is Never A Perfectly Diffused Surface, Do You want to Risk it?!

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Old 02-28-2011, 08:59 PM #12
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

I know.. sorry double post... just pointing the ones in this thread to the review I told them I would do for them.

This is not a conclusive test yet as some more experienced members are needed to make any kinda safety recommendations

http://laserpointerforums.com/f53/ki...tml#post867117
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Above >5mW you can damage Your Eyes with a Reflection in 1/100th of a second. It Doesn't Matter How Dim it "Looks"! It is still dangerous!
Above >100 mW you can burn your retina off any glossy surface just Reflecting The Beam off to your Eye!It's More Than Just a Mirror that you need to be Careful Of!!
And remember There is Never A Perfectly Diffused Surface, Do You want to Risk it?!
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:46 PM #13
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

I just directly measured the Kinect laser's output power with a Germanium detector from Newport (collects light in the 700-1300nm range), which I posted on Youtube:

YouTube - ‪Kinect Laser Safety Power Measurement‬‏

Quick results:
2 feet from the Kinect laser -> 4 microwatts measured
1 foot -> 90 microwatts
2 inches -> 0.25 milliwatts
1 inch -> 0.67 milliwatts
1cm -> 1.5 milliwatts
almost flush -> 2.9 milliwatts


The short of it is that the Kinect is a BLINDING HAZARD if you look at the laser from 2 inches away or less. Be very careful of children poking their heads in front of the Kinect while it's on!!

At a distance of one foot and more from the Kinect, the laser's power per area drops to levels lower than ambient lighting, so as long as you don't play absurdly close, there will not be any detrimental health effects.
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:00 AM #14
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Thanks for measuring it

Classes 2 and 3a aren't exactly a blinding hazard. There are more realistic things to be afraid of.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:57 PM #15
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yevoc View Post
I just directly measured the Kinect laser's output power with a Germanium detector from Newport (collects light in the 700-1300nm range), which I posted on Youtube:

YouTube - ‪Kinect Laser Safety Power Measurement‬‏

Quick results:
2 feet from the Kinect laser -> 4 microwatts measured
1 foot -> 90 microwatts
2 inches -> 0.25 milliwatts
1 inch -> 0.67 milliwatts
1cm -> 1.5 milliwatts
almost flush -> 2.9 milliwatts


The short of it is that the Kinect is a BLINDING HAZARD if you look at the laser from 2 inches away or less. Be very careful of children poking their heads in front of the Kinect while it's on!!

At a distance of one foot and more from the Kinect, the laser's power per area drops to levels lower than ambient lighting, so as long as you don't play absurdly close, there will not be any detrimental health effects.
First.... thanks for doing the test and supplying
the result numbers... but...

That's 1/4 of one MiliWatt.... Blinding hazzard...
I think not....

On another note....
The OP seems a bit paranoid...IMO

Manufacturers have to pass stringent safety tests to be
able to put a product on the general public market...
I would assume that the Kinect product also needed to
pass these Pubic Safety Tests....


Jerry
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:06 PM #16
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Default Re: Kinect Safety...?

And besides, why would you put your eyes up to the kinect sensor 2 inches away? Doesn't seem logical to me?
I don't think anybody is going to be like, hey is this thing on? Let me put my eye up to it
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