Introduction to Bioelectricity

  • Yong Jeong
Part of the Integrated Circuits and Systems book series (ICIR)


It can be said that the use of electricity by biological systems as a signal between the nerves and muscles was first discovered in 1789 in a frog leg when the Italian physicist Luigi Galvani touched an exposed sciatic nerve with a charged metal scalpel and observed the dead frog’s leg flex as if it were alive. This finding provided the basis for the current understanding that electrical energy is the impetus behind muscle movement and also the driving force in other systems. This work was reported in the Proceedings of the Bologna Academy in 1791. At that time, Galvani believed that the muscular contractions were due to electrical energy emanating from the animal. However, Allesandro Volta was convinced that the electricity in Galvani’s experiments originated from the presence of the dissimilar metals. Both of these interpretations represent the two different aspects of electrical potential in biological system, the action potential and the steady source of electrical potential [1, 2].


Membrane Potential Motor Unit Equilibrium Potential Equivalent Circuit Model Length Constant 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bio and Brain EngineeringKorea Advanced Institute of Science and TechnologyDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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