[Solved] Idea of a mod to have side LEDs nicer to the eyes' health

I’d like to see a way to mod the FrameWork so that the very bright white LEDs on the sides of the laptop, which are ON when it is fully charged and plugged-in, would be nicer for the eyes.

My concern:

  • white LEDs contain blue light bad for the retina (linked to an increased risk of ARMD)
  • those LEDs are also particularly bright
  • it’s also a no-no for evening and night, as it can mess up the circadian rhythm.

Possible solutions:

  • change their color to green
  • make them much, much dimmer

How hard would it be to swap the LEDs?
Or, if it’s too cumbersome, why not try to disassemble, paint the LEDs, and reassemble?

What I have already tried:

  • small bit of tape

Why it is not a good solution:

  • tape peels off very easily when rubbed during normal usage of the laptop.
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You can easily remove the LEDs inside by removing the small piece of plastic that refracts it towards the holes.
Don’t reccomend it though since you might be damaging your method to see boot codes permanently.
You can turn it green yourself by using the EC if you’re really motivated!!
I wouldn’t worry too much about the Blue Light, first if you’re in front of you’re laptop you only see reflected light, second, the LED is VERY dim.


Thanks! Removing or changing the refracting plastic piece is one interesting idea!

But changing the EC is even more promising!

As for the dimness, it probably depends on each person’s sensitivity but… well, by my standards those LEDs are way too bright.

You need to see my living room, there is electric tape everywhere :slight_smile:

Edit: are you sure you can light them green through software? Some “LEDs” (actually, “LED groups”, combined to give e.g. white) have limited available colors.

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Yeah! In fact quite a few people have changed the side led colors and it’s one of the simpler things to do in the EC if I remember correctly!
Be warned though, the EC is a bit tricky to deal with!!

Here are some threads related to this:

Hahaha sorry, I overreacted a bit and didn’t take that into account!

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LoL…the LEDs’ intensity (lack of)… Man, when was the last time you were exposed to sunlight?

What do you think you’re looking at when you see the blue sky? Or a blue sweater under sunlight?

It’s like worrying about cosmic background radiation (when you think about the scale / intensity, and actual impact)…

Better tell Philips about the LED lights.

…I’m also not sure where you’re located in relation to the laptop, nor t the size of your head (distance between your eyes) when you’re using the laptop…but when I’m in front of the laptop, I can’t see the side LEDs.


Solution (if you must): Cover the LEDs with nail polish, tinted to your heart’s content.

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@Second_Coming The mechanism of blue light toxicity (415 ~ 455 nm) is well known, the retinol is excited and triggers an apoptosis path.

All is a question of proportion of the wavelength in the total light sensed by the pupil, which will let a constant amount into the eye by opening or closing accordingly.

So if you have a warm light in a Philips Hue LED, no problem, and most of whites in Philips Hue bulbs are OK too, as they are composed of many wavelengths.

However a simple LED like the side indicator of a FrameWork laptop is made of at most 3 primary LEDs colors, thus the blue wavelength gets a big proportion in a white color setting.

In the evening or in the night when there is no other light around, and your laptop is charging, your pupil is wide open.

As for the blue of the sky, actually it is 450 ~ 485 nm, so it is a bit different from the toxic blue (this distribution of the spectrum will have only a tiny fraction of its energy in the toxic zone. Picture a bell shaped curve centered around 467 nm and reaching 450 and 485 nm, and you see it will have only a tiny surface between 450 and 455 nm).

Ah and I forgot to mention, the above in the previous paragraph is because the sky blue spectrum is spread out, whereas the light emitted by a set of LEDs will be a group of discrete frequencies (“bars” instead of a smooth graph). So with a set of LEDs you get a huge lot of energy in each of those few discrete frequencies.

The biggest problem in the LED industry currently, health-wise, imho, is that the cheapest and most powerful blue LEDs have exactly the most toxic wavelength! And knowledge about it is not very common yet.

Maybe Philips Hue is more aware? I really don’t know. I’d say probably.

@Shiroudan Thanks!! Sounds fun to toy around with those leds, I may try a bit.

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You have any reference materials that refers to the intensity of LEDs?

My pupils are usually wide open under that lighting condition…regardless of whether my laptop is charging or not. :sweat_smile:

@Second_Coming For example this study shows that the toxicity is the worst for 415 ~ 455 nm:

Yes, right lol, sorry I should have shuffled a bit the parts of my sentence haha ^^

" These results indicate that neither the wavelength energy nor the light intensity is the predominant factor in RPE cell photodamage. Instead, the wavelength-dependent phototoxicity is found to overlap with the visible absorbance maximum of A2E-loaded RPE cells. Therefore, blue light toxicity on RPE cells is likely a complex integration between light intensity, wavelength energy and the A2E absorption spectrum."

" Light damages have been investigated by other research teams not only in vitro as discussed above but also in vivo in different animal models. For instance, they were examined under very intense light during a short period such as 3000 lux for up to 2 hours in albino rats. Photoreceptor degeneration occurred within less than 90 minutes whereas RPE cell apoptosis was delayed by several hours [44]. The use of two different animal models rhodopsin and RPE65 deficient mice indicated that rhodopsin activation is required to trigger this photoreceptor degeneration [45]."

I’m failing to see where there’s mention of consumer electronics LEDs would have sufficient energy to cause issues.

@Second_Coming There are definitely multiple factors, but the apoptosis path triggered by blue light is a sure one.

You can consult the many existing studies, as well as the EU recommandations on the subject.

As for me, I prefer to stay on the safe side, as I have a family history of ARMD (and I have the bad genes, as checked by a full-genome sequencing) , and I don’t want to see only blurred patches at age 60 like my relative.

In the end it’s a question of managing one’s one life with one’s own risk factors.

I’m not denying that. I’m questioning the intensity you would actually get / need to cause any issue.

It’s like saying “gamma radiation” would kill you…without accounting for your received dosage.

Ok, but I think that the absolute intensity is not the right metrics. You need to factor in the aperture of your pupil.

I agree that it would definitely be helpful to have more information about the toxicity threshold.

However I’ve read multiple times that the effect is quite cumulative over time, so that made me pessimistic.

Even if you capture all the energy from the spherical space released from the LED, I would still question the intensity.

I mean, look at the size of that LED…now look at the size of the 85in TV… Regardless of the size of you pupil…you open / shut ratio…hum… I bet the TV has a higher ratio.

No that’s actually a lot, if you send the whole
LED-worth of energy in pure toxic-blue wavelength concentrated on an equivalent pinhole size surface on the retina…

Most often you only get a tiny fraction of it, thanks to the distance, to the pupil, to other frequencies being present…

That’s not how it works. But I can see how you’re trying to use that to form your argument.

You’re trying to form an near-infinity argument by focused density.

It is how it works indeed. Lookup how to geometrically construct the optical image through a lens.

You’ll find out that the image on the retina is even smaller than the emitting object.

If the FrameWork side LED was more wide, for example, for a same emitted energy, the density received on the retina would be smaller too.

So the small size of the LED light is part of the problem. A more spreadout plastic refractor would help somewhat.

Ah ok I see, I should have mentionned that it is the energy density of this toxic blue light received on the retina that causes problem.

The same amount spread on the whole retina can be innocuous, but dangerous if concentrated on a few receptor cells.

I give up.

Lol. Do you tell that because you think I’m wrong but don’t want to spell it out? That would be dishonest, if you have questions or doubts, please don’t hesitate: your skepticism is also my source of progress in my understanding of all that, and all the best if I end up on a different conclusion than my original one.

I also took a screenshot, because I got @Second_Coming to reply “I give up”, which is quite something :wink:

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