Safety of pulsed electric devices

Physiol Meas. 2009 Jan;30(1):101-14. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/30/1/007. Epub 2008 Dec 22.


The strength-duration curve for tissue excitation can be modeled by a parallel resistor-capacitor circuit that has a time constant. We tested several short-duration electric generators: five electric fence energizers, the Taser X26 and a high-frequency generator to determine their current-versus-time waveforms. We estimated their safety characteristics using existing IEC and UL standards for electric fence energizers. The current standards are difficult to follow, with cumbersome calculations, and do not explicitly explain the physiological relevance of the calculated parameters. Hence we propose a new standard. The proposed new standard would consist of a physical RC circuit with a certain time constant. The investigator would discharge the device into a passive resistor-capacitor circuit and measure the resulting maximum voltage. If the maximum voltage does not exceed a limit, the device passes the test.

MeSH terms

  • Electric Injuries / prevention & control
  • Electrical Equipment and Supplies / adverse effects
  • Electrical Equipment and Supplies / standards*
  • Electroshock / adverse effects
  • Electroshock / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Safety / standards*
  • Humans
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / prevention & control*