From the series "Problems We Didn't Know Existed", we present how a helium gas leak inside a hospital near Chicago (US) was responsible for inactivating several iPhones of staff and patients.
It all happened while systems expert Erik Wooldridge was installing a new MRI machine at Morris Hospital. Several people started looking for it after several iPhones stopped working in addition to some Apple watches.
My immediate thought was that MRI should have emitted some kind of electromagnetic pulse (EMP), in which case we will have a very big problem.
If it were a PEM, multiple other devices would have stopped working, not just iPhones and Apple Watches. For help with the problem, Wooldridge turned to the Reddit discussion board, where he discovered that the event could be related to the helium (liquid) contained in the MRI machine to cool his hands.
Upon further investigation, the systems specialist found that a leak of approximately 120 liters of helium (liquid) had occurred. In contact with air, helium expands 750 times; Therefore, about 90,000 liters of helium (gaseous) were dissipated inside and outside the hospital. This eventually affected the iPhones, but why?
According to Apple, "exposing iPhone to environments with high concentrations of industrial chemicals, including near evaporating liquefied gases such as helium, may damage the iPhone or impair its functionality." This effect affects iPhones and Android devices thanks to the SiT1532, the manufacturer's microelectromechanical system oscillator (MEMS). SiTime that basically moves the clock CPU of iPhones and Apple Watches.
After exposure, Apple recommends not connecting the device to any cables and waiting until all gas exits the device; that is, until then no iPhone or Watch has stopped working because of this. IFixit reconstructed the situation by placing an iPhone 8 in a sealed helium gas bag; Of course, the concentration of gas in the test was much higher, but the purpose was to verify the action of the gas on the gadget (check the result on the video above).
Curious, isn't it?