Pacemaker and Theremin

Posted: 5/1/2008 3:38:50 AM
Ron Winkler

From: Germany

Joined: 5/1/2008

hello there and thank you for reading. i am new and want to thank you for this forum.

i have asked my question a lot of times in other platforms, but never get a serious answer. so i ask here:

is there any known influence of the em-fields of the theremin to my pacemaker?
it was often told me to go away from em-fields because i have the pacemaker and now i want to play a theremin, but i am afraid.

any answers or techn. details?

all is helpful.

thank you very much

Posted: 5/1/2008 11:28:49 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Welcome to Theremin World, Ron. I just "added" you on mySpace. :-)

You have a beautiful collection of stringed instruments on your website.

Now your question - I am not surprised that people are loathe to give advice regarding theremins and pacemakers - I would not want to tell you that it is OK in case I was wrong.

I suggest that you email moog music, explaining that you have a pacemaker, and that you need to know the radio frequencies used by the etherwave theremin, and how powerful they are. Once you have a quantitative description you can then ask the pacemaker manufacturers if there would be any adverse effects from using a theremin.

My feeling is that the low frequency radio waves involved are innocuous and the absence of any [i]powerful[/i] magnetic fields means that it will [b]probably[/b] be OK, but [b]I am not qualified in either medicine or electronics[/b], so my feeling is not to be relied upon.

This might help... :-)

view full size (
Posted: 5/1/2008 12:06:01 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Regarding frequencies I may give an answer:

The Moog Etherwave Standard operates at ca. 270kHz (Pitch circuit) and at ca. 450kHz (Volume circuit)
The Paia Theremax operates at ca. 800kHz (both circuits).

In every case there is not much ERP radiated by the antennae, since they act only as a half-capacitor in an oscillator tank circuit and though aren't optimized for efficient power radiation.

So I personally consider the risk of troubling your pacemaker rather low concerning the strength of the em field. The only risk which I see would be that one of the oscillator frequencies is the same as the frequency used for remote controlling your pacemaker. But its manufacturer should be able to give you a qualified answer.
Posted: 5/1/2008 5:55:39 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I agree, bet it's safer than using a microwave.
Hope you can check with your doctor and get one as soon as possible. You want to play and it's a great instrument, hope it works out. Keep us posted!
Posted: 5/2/2008 3:02:51 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Direct experimentation would be certain, but the potential consequences are certainly significant, and it would not seem to be advisable. Even though the power is very low, the frequencies might be more important. The manufacturer ought to be most helpful. Do let us know.
Posted: 5/2/2008 3:30:16 AM
Ron Winkler

From: Germany

Joined: 5/1/2008

good morning.
thank u all.
first at all i will contact the manufacturer of the pacemaker and than i will post the results here.
have a nice weekend.

Posted: 5/2/2008 10:22:41 PM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

There should be no danger at all - check with the manufacturer for purposes of warranty, but, having worked for many years in medical electronics and as a medical physicist I am sure you have no need for ANY worry.

The attenuation by your body of any fields picked up from the theremin will be almost total (100s of db's) and the signals reaching your body, even if directly coupled without attenuation, to the output electrodes of your pacemaker, would be insignificant - Pacemakers have quite a low impedence output.

Any remote control or demand sensing apperatus used with a pacemaker must meet extremely tight regulations regarding immunity to induced signals.

There is nothing to worry about.. The only grey area is with respect to any legal issues which might arrise if a fault developed on the pacemaker, and the insurer / manufacturer tried to blame the theremin - particularly if the theremin did not have the required certifications (FCC, CE or whatever emmissions regulations are applicable)
Posted: 5/3/2008 2:09:24 AM

From: Fresno, California USA

Joined: 3/26/2006

Ah, yes, the government emissions certification!

And it is in totally poor taste under the circumstances, but I cannot help being reminded of a murder mystery from (I think) the 1920's, set in Germany or Britain, in which the victim was electrocuted by a booby-trapped radio when he tuned it to the news broadcast he always selected in the evening after dinner. The title sticks in my mind: "Death Over The Air." Do pardon me; I agree that it seems most unlikely there would be any problem with a theremin.
Posted: 5/3/2008 11:23:47 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Ron, it's so cool you want to add the theremin to your hurdy gurdy expertise and existing musical endeavors. Some how they fit together in a way that lots lots of folks here have found for the theremin and other instruments that are off the typical path.
Sure hope you can get one soon.

And yes, of course, welcome to ThereminWorld!
Posted: 5/4/2008 1:20:29 PM
Ron Winkler

From: Germany

Joined: 5/1/2008

hello again and thank u all!

the manufacturer told me the follow. unfortunally i can post it only in german. maybe there is a kind user, who can translate it into english.

"""Grenzwerte für die Störfestigkeit von Herzschrittmachern

Bei der Bestimmung von Grenzwerten für die Störfestigkeit werden sowohl statische Magnetfelder als auch elektromagnetische Felder in Betracht gezogen.
Niederfrequente Felder
Die Störschwelle der elektrischen Feldstärke bei Herzschrittmachern ist 6000 V/m Frequenz bei 50Hz.

Modulierte magnetische Felder
Bei modulierten magnetische Feldern im niederfrequenten Bereich bis 10 kHz liegt die Störschwelle bei
80 A/m das entspricht 100 µT. Bei magnetischen Feldern größer 10 kHz ist ein Störschwelle von 1 A/m gegeben.

Hochfrequente Felder
Bei höheren Frequenzen wird die Störfestigkeit nur in V/m angegeben, da in diesen Frequenzbereichen (von ≥ 150 kHz ) magnetische und elektrische Felder in einem festen Verhältnis zueinander stehen.
Herzschrittmacher können am Eingang des Gerätes einem Feld von 100 V/m widerstehen."""

i think, it is not so easy to reach the critical parameters with a theremin and i can play it without any doubt.


You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.