NORMAN, Okla.-A six-month study now is underway at the Center for the Study of Wireless Electromagnetic Compatibility in Norman, Okla., to see if wireless phones interfere with cardiac defibrillators.
Researchers expect to finish experiments by the end of May and conclude the study in September. The Center is located in the School of Industrial Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. It was established several years ago to explore the relationship between wireless communication devices and electronic medical devices.
Defibrillators are implanted in a person’s body to monitor the heart’s electrical activity and deliver corrective electrical impulses when an irregular heartbeat is detected.
Tests will include analog and digital phones, including 1900 MHz personal communications services handsets.
The test protocol is based on last fall’s pacemaker compatibility tests, which also were conducted at the OU EMC Center, and includes the new Federal Drug Administration protocol, said Dr. Hank Grant, EMC Center director.
Last fall’s large-scale investigation of interaction between cellular MHz phones and cardiac pacemakers indicated “that a small number of pacemakers experienced the most interaction and that several pacemaker models had no interaction with any of the phones tested,” the EMC Center said.
Defibrillators from four different companies are being used in the new test.
In other news, the EMC Center has been accepted as a Global Wireless Education Consortium partner. The consortium seeks to insert today’s technology into current engineering curriculum, with a goal of attracting new technicians and engineers interested in wireless technology.
“The Center’s technical expertise and research experience in studying electromagnetic compatibility provide an excellent resource for future wireless industry engineers,” Grant said.