Student discovers iPad 2 heart device risk

Summary:When Gianna Chien was given a tablet, discovering a risk that iPad 2 products present for heart patients wasn't the expected outcome.

When Gianna Chien was given a tablet, discovering a risk that iPad 2 products present for heart patients wasn't the expected outcome.

After receiving an iPad 2 for her birthday in 2011, the 14-year old student noticed that a number of older customers were being given tutorials on how to use the tablet. Combined with her father's profession as a doctor, Chien wondered whether there were any risks for users who had heart-related devices including pacemakers and implanted defibrillators.

Chien then conducted a study involving 26 volunteers who had implanted defibrillators. The student found that in 30 percent of cases, the iPad 2 triggered "magnet mode," where the tablet's 30 magnets in the cover accidentally turn off the heart device -- which is meant to deliver an electric shock if the heart stops.

There were no problems found with pacemakers or loop-recorders.

Although the tablet's magnets are not powerful enough to cause issues when held away from the body, Chien does warn that resting it against the chest -- or falling asleep -- is a risk to heart patients.

The study was submitted to the San Joaquin County Science Fair in March, but lost out on the top spot due to an alternative project on electromagnetics. However, the project does offer valuable information and a warning to users with defibrillators, and raises questions over whether firms are making such risks clear enough.

The student says she may look at the risks of other electronic products for next year's fair.

Read More: Bloomberg

Image credit: Apple

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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