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If you’ve ever hit the road with your iPad, then slipped on your polarized sunglasses to kick back and take in some reading, you’ve no doubt discovered a dirty little secret about gadgets -- but one expert says it doesn’t have to be that way.
DisplayMate Technologies Corporation has published an interesting study of how polarized sunglasses affect the gadgets we use every day. The topic is certainly a timely one as we enter the summer vacation season, onto to discover that reading on an iPad while in portrait mode results in a black screen while wearing such glasses.
“More and more people have polarized sunglasses and they will significantly interfere with seeing the display on all LCDs and even some OLEDs -- the screen becomes invisible and appears entirely black,” writes Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate. “That is a major problem for mobile devices like Tablets and Smartphones that are frequently used outdoors. In fact the iPad, Kindle Fire, and Nook Tablet are all invisible and unreadable black in Portrait mode. It's also the case for some digital cameras, GPSs, and many everyday products with LCDs that are used outdoors.”
Calling the phenomenon a byproduct of “bad engineering,” Dr. Ray breaks down a laundry list of your favorite gadgets and how they’re affected by wearing polarized sunglasses. From smartphones and tablets to LCD HDTVs, e-readers, OLED devices and IPS LCDs, Dr. Ray explains how manufacturers can get around the dilemma -- as well as how users can avoid its ill effects.
For example, the iPad can be used with polarized sunglasses simply by holding it horizontally. While the screen is almost completely black when held in portrait mode, this is thankfully not the case when the device is rotated.
“Best of all, manufacturers can add compensating film layers to the display that make this effect go away almost entirely by converting to Circular Polarization,” Dr. Ray reveals.
Head over to the DisplayMate website and give the entire piece a read before heading out for your summer fun -- at the very least, you’ll have a heads up on what kind of devices might plague you while wearing polarized sunglasses in the future.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter