Apple fanboys, with heart conditions, who take their iPads to bed with them, could find that their next rounded rectangle is a coffin.
Tiny magnets within the iPad can shut off implanted defibrillators on a pacemaker if the device is left on the chest, such as might happen if the user falls asleep with the iPad lying on them.
As a death scenario, it does not seem very likely, but with the English Health and Safety executive being what it is, we would have thought that it would have ranked right up there with paragliding into a minefield.
We are also surprised that the geniuses at Apple did not think of this as it is something that a 14 year old girl could spot. Actually the 14 year old was Gianna Chien who made the discovery as part of a science fair project.
According to Bloomberg, her project did not win first place, presumably because the judges felt that Apple was perfect and the only thing the iPad has to do with death are the Chinese kids who throw themselves off buildings so that American kids can own them.
Chien will be presenting her findings to 8,000 doctors at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in Denver, where she will hopefully find a more reasonable audience.
Basically if a person falls asleep with the iPad2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device, said Chien. Chiens’ dad is a doctor so she realises it is pretty important that people know this.
Chien’s study found that 30 percent of patients with defibrillators who put iPads on their chest were affected by the device. Most defibrillators will turn back on once the magnet is removed, but some must be reactivated manually causing a potentially life-threatening situation.
John Day, head of heart-rhythm services at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and chairman of the panel that reviews scientific papers to be presented at the Denver meeting said the research offers a valuable warning for people with implanted defibrillators, which deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart.