Gianna Chien, a 14 year old girl presented some amazing and slightly scary research at a science fair in March. Her project – whether or not the magnets found in an iPad were capable of disrupting the magnets found in implanted defibrillators used by patients with heart trouble.
Gianna, whos father is a cardiac electrophysiologist was able to carry out tests on 26 volunteers with defibrillators.
The magnets in an iPad 2 and newer devices are designed to keep the smart cover in place, the study showed that when the tablet was placed on the volunteers chest the magnets affected 30% of the defibrillators. During the tests the magnets did not interfere with pacemakers or loop recorders.
Some devices are designed to start back up after the magnets are no longer in contact, others need to be turned back on manually and some even need the same magnetic force applying to them and this is what could cause the biggest problem.
Apple declined to make a statement but did point concerned consumers towards their safety guidelines which in Apples defence do say to keep the device at least 6 inches away from any heart devices, they also advise that tablets should be switched off completely while in any health care facility.
This being said how many consumers really sit and read the safety guidelines, and how many iPad users that have defibrillators fitted fall asleep with their iPad in hand.
Gianna an incredibly talented 14 year old may have saved a few lives with her research, she plans to extend her studies to other electronic devices and says “I definitely think people should be aware,” Chien said. “That’s why I’m presenting the study”.