Full Text:   <2184>

CLC number: Q6

On-line Access: 

Received: 2006-02-08

Revision Accepted: 2006-10-08

Crosschecked: 0000-00-00

Cited: 1

Clicked: 4879

Citations:  Bibtex RefMan EndNote GB/T7714

-   Go to

Article info.
1. Reference List
Open peer comments

Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2006 Vol.7 No.12 P.933-946


Evaluation and comparison of 50 Hz current threshold of electrocutaneous sensations using different methods

Author(s):  Lindenblatt G., Silny J.

Affiliation(s):  Centre for Optical and Electromagnetic Research, Department of Optical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China; more

Corresponding email(s):   lindenblatt@pobox.com

Key Words:  Electrocutaneous sensation, Non-adequate stimulation, Adaptation, Psychophysics, Cutaneous mechanoreceptors, Human hand, Safety guidelines

Share this article to: More |Next Article >>>

Lindenblatt G., Silny J.. Evaluation and comparison of 50 Hz current threshold of electrocutaneous sensations using different methods[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2006, 7(12): 933-946.

@article{title="Evaluation and comparison of 50 Hz current threshold of electrocutaneous sensations using different methods",
author="Lindenblatt G., Silny J.",
journal="Journal of Zhejiang University Science B",
publisher="Zhejiang University Press & Springer",

%0 Journal Article
%T Evaluation and comparison of 50 Hz current threshold of electrocutaneous sensations using different methods
%A Lindenblatt G.
%A Silny J.
%J Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B
%V 7
%N 12
%P 933-946
%@ 1673-1581
%D 2006
%I Zhejiang University Press & Springer
%DOI 10.1631/jzus.2006.B0933

T1 - Evaluation and comparison of 50 Hz current threshold of electrocutaneous sensations using different methods
A1 - Lindenblatt G.
A1 - Silny J.
J0 - Journal of Zhejiang University Science B
VL - 7
IS - 12
SP - 933
EP - 946
%@ 1673-1581
Y1 - 2006
PB - Zhejiang University Press & Springer
ER -
DOI - 10.1631/jzus.2006.B0933

Leakage currents, tiny currents flowing from an everyday-life appliance through the body to the ground, can cause a non-adequate perception (called electrocutaneous sensation, ECS) or even pain and should be avoided. Safety standards for low-frequency range are based on experimental results of current thresholds of electrocutaneous sensations, which however show a wide range between about 50 μA (rms) and 1000 μA (rms). In order to be able to explain these differences, the perception threshold was measured repeatedly in experiments with test persons under identical experimental setup, but by means of different methods (measuring strategies), namely: direct adjustment, classical threshold as amperage of 50% perception probability, and confidence rating procedure of signal detection theory. The current is injected using a 1 cm2 electrode at the highly touch sensitive part of the index fingertip. These investigations show for the first time that the threshold of electrocutaneous sensations is influenced both by adaptation to the non-adequate stimulus and individual, emotional factors. Therefore, classical methods, on which the majority of the safety investigations are based, cannot be used to determine a leakage current threshold. The confidence rating procedure of the modern signal detection theory yields a value of 179.5 μA (rms) at 50 Hz power supply net frequency as the lower end of the 95% confidence range considering the variance in the investigated group. This value is expected to be free of adaptation influences, and is distinctly lower than the European limits and supports the stricter regulations of Canada and USA.

Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


[1] Dalziel, C.F., 1954. The threshold of perception currents. AIEE Trans. Power Apparatus Syst., 73:990-996.

[2] Dalziel, C.F., Mansfield, T.H., 1950. Effect of frequency on perception currents. AIEE Trans., 69:1162-1168.

[3] Gescheider, G.A., 1976. Psychophysics: Method and Theory. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, New Jersey.

[4] Irnich, W., Batz, L., 1989. The perception threshold for 50 Hz alternating voltage and current. Biomed. Tech. (Berl.), 34(9):207-209.

[5] Johansson, R.S., Vallbo, A.B., 1979. Tactile sensibility in the human hand: relative and absolute densities of four types of mechanoreceptive units in glabrous skin. J. Physiol. (Lond), 286:283-300.

[6] Kaczmarek, K.A., Webster, J.G., Bach-y-Rita, P., Tompkins, W.J., 1991. Electrotactile and vibrotactile displays for sensory substitution systems. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng., 38(1):1-16.

[7] Leitgeb, N., Schrottner, J., 2001. Risk from electric current greater than assumed. Biomed. Tech. (Berl.), 46(11):307-310 (in German).

[8] Levin, M., 1991. Perception of chassis leakage current. Biomed. Instrum. Technol., 25(2):135-140.

[9] Macmillan, N.A., Creelman, C.D., 1991. Detection Theory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[10] Patino, J., Korneluk, J.E., Tracy, J.L., 2006. Apparatus and Method for Stimulating One or More Areas on a Wearer. United States Patent Application 20060084480.

[11] Schmidt, R.F., Thews, G., 1995. Physiologie des Menschen, 26th Ed. Springer, Heidelberg.

[12] Sorkin, R.D., 1999. Spreadsheet signal detection. Behav. Res. Methods Instrum. Comput., 31(1):46-54.

[13] Southwood, W.F.W., 1955. The thickness of the skin. Plast. Reconstr. Surg., 15(1):423-429.

[14] Stanislaw, H., Todorov, N., 1999. Calculation of signal detection theory measures. Behav. Res. Methods Instrum. Comput., 31(1):137-149.

[15] Tan, K.S., Johnson, D.L., 1990. Threshold of sensation for 60-Hz leakage current: results of a survey. Biomed. Instrum. Technol., 24(3):207-211.

[16] Tursky, B., O'Connell, D., 1972. Reliability and interjudgment predictability of subjective judgments of electrocutaneous stimulation. Psychophysiology, 9(3):290-295.

[17] Vallbo, A.B., Johansson, R.S., 1984. Properties of cutaneous mechanoreceptors in the human hand related to touch sensation. Hum. Neurobiol., 3(1):3-14.

[18] Whitton, J.T., 1973. New values for epidermal thickness and their importance. Health Phys., 24(1):1-8.

[19] Whitton, J.T., Everall, J.D., 1973. The thickness of the epidermis. Br. J. Dermatol., 89(5):467-476.

Open peer comments: Debate/Discuss/Question/Opinion


Please provide your name, email address and a comment

Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China
Tel: +86-571-87952783; E-mail: cjzhang@zju.edu.cn
Copyright © 2000 - 2022 Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE