14 year old Gianna Chien has discovered that when held close to the chest, the magnets in iPad smart covers can turn off implanted defibrillators. This is worrisome for those who must turn theirs own manually after being shut off because it can then leave someone vulnerable.
Picture of a defibrillator implant
Well this is certainly interesting. A fourteen year old named Gianna Chien has discovered something quite worrisome about the magnets in the iPad Smart Cover. Apparently they are able to turn off implanted defibrillators. This could be a problem for anybody who has one and likes to use their iPad before they go to bed, as falling asleep with it on your chest could power your implant off.
The reason this is even possible at all is because as a safety measure, implanted defibrillators are able to be turned off externally with the use of a magnet. It should be clarified that under normal use it isn’t possible for the smart cover magnet to turn an implant off, it can only occur when being held close to the chest.
Gianna Chien discovered this as part of a science fair project. She may not have won first place, but Bloomberg says that she’ll be presenting this finding to 8000 doctors at a Heart Rhythm Society meeting.
Chien conducted a study and found that this affected 30% of patients with implants. Although most implants will turn on again as soon as the magnet is moved away from the chest, some require them to be manually turned on afterward, which is potentially very dangerous. That’s why it’s important that this finding has come to light before any reported incidents have occurred not just for Apple’s sake, but for those who this could affect as well.