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The human body is an antenna

  1. Oct 4, 2013 #1
    I wasn't sure whether to post this question in biology or physics.

    I'm stumped on a couple experiments.

    Here are the basic experiments. I have people wash their hands and dry them off and then hold onto the probes of a volt meter. To my surprise some people give a reading as high as .3Volts while others give 0 volts. Why is that?

    The other experiment involves a radio frequency detector with an antenna. In open air it just scans and reads nothing but when I place the antenna about an inch away from a person the radio frequency detector often detects some frequencies while in other people it does not. The subjects said that they had no metal fillings or other metal placed in their bodies. What might cause that?

    Thanks in advance for ideas.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2013 #2


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    A human body has a lot of water with ions dissolved in it, and that conducts electricity.
    For the static voltage, those reactions might influence the result.
  4. Jun 9, 2016 #3
    I am fascinated by your experiment can you share more information
  5. Jun 9, 2016 #4


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    This thread is 2.5 years old.
  6. Jun 10, 2016 #5
    At the risk of 'thread necromancy', may I point out that your body may serve as an antenna for local radio stations etc ? There was the infamous case of a man whose semi-metallic dental fillings rectified the local station's output, meaning he could often hear their transmissions. Fortunately, his counsellor thought to test the claim, rather than ring for a squad of orderlies. Later, many real-neat 'Science Fair' projects powered their simple wide-band radios' 'flea-power' amplifier from the local station's rectified output. Update that, touching the open input of your digital voltmeter's high-impedance, high-gain amplifier may provide signals within the amp's bandwidth. This is, of course, distinct from 'carpet zap' static...
  7. Jun 10, 2016 #6


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    Also aware it's an old thread but...

    If they held a meter probe in each hand then there was a loop formed comprising the meter leads, their body and the meter. This loop is capable of coupling with the mains in the building. Can cause all sorts of strange readings on a meter.
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