Experimental analysis of the human perception threshold of a DC electric field

H. Odagiri-Shimizu*, K. Shimizu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


To study the biological effects of extremely low frequency (ELF) electric fields, a fundamental study is conducted of the human perception threshold of an electric field. The perception threshold is measured with human subjects, and the results are analysed. It is clear that field perception is based on the movement of hair and not on other sensations. Variance in the perception threshold and its causes are investigated. The perception threshold decreases by almost 30% as the relative humidity increases from 50 to 90%. The perception threshold is also dependent on the physical condition (length and density) of the hair and the psychological condition (degree of awareness) of the subject. The dependence on these is much smaller than that on relative humidity. The cause of the gender difference in the threshold is ascribed to the difference in the physical condition of the hair. Through this study, some factors to be taken into account for the safety standard are made clear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-732
Number of pages6
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • DC electric field
  • Detection threshold
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Human effect
  • Safety standard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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