I'm designing a tablet holder that can be taken into an operating room.

For sterilization and production reasons it would be aventageous if I would make the tablet attach to the holder via magnets.

I'm planning to use a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and then attach (probably glue) four magnets to its backside and have another four magnets attached to the tablet holder itself.

The major question for me is whether it if safe to put magnets of that strength right onto a computer.

The magnets don't need to be extremely strong. They only need to hold the tablet in case of a minor bump and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 weighs just under 800 grams - (1.7 lb).

So is this generally safe to do?

Or does it depends where exactly i put the magnets?

Or is this a really bad idea?

Might it be a better idea to glue only metal pieces to the back of the tablet and use slightly stronger magnets on the tablet holder itself in order not to have constant exposure to the magnets? (I know that the metal pieces would be magnetised)

  • Long term exposure to magnets in general tends to be a bad idea. While they need to be quite powerful to do real damage, It is good practice not to risk it in my opinion. – Cheesus Crust Jul 27 '17 at 14:00
  • Magnets, electricity, and a Surface Pro 4, oh my!! – Pimp Juice IT Jul 27 '17 at 14:20
  • It would be better to have a piece of steel on the tablet. This is a common method used for phone car holders. – davidmneedham Jul 27 '17 at 14:32
  • Many tablets/laptops use a built in magnet to turn the device off when the device is closed ... so if you have magnets in the wrong place ... – DavidPostill Jul 27 '17 at 14:56

The Surface Pro 4 has a solid state drive, so magnets should not affect the data on it. It could be possible they'd affect the stylus. I don't think there will be any permanent damage, so I suggest you just try it out.

  • So other than the hard drive, could there be any other metallic, magnetic, or electrical components a "strong" magnet could affect either long-term or even short-term? – Pimp Juice IT Jul 28 '17 at 0:56

If you must have a SurfacePro in an OR (is the OS and software certified for safety-critical use?), and you wish to use magnets, interpose a sheet of MuMetal or magnetically-soft steel (not stainless steel, or other non-ferromagnetic alloy), between the magnets and the back of the device to provide magnetic shielding. Test, lest as @DavidPostill states, under some circumstance the magnetic field shuts the device.

There might also be concern with bringing magnets into an OR, since some medical devices are magnetically controlled, e.g cerebrospinal shunts and scoliosis rods. Might an autoclavable hook-and-loop fastener be better?

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