Crosstalk: EMI and RFI

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) and RF Interference (RFI)—also known as crosstalk—are serious and increasing forms of environmental pollution.  There are man made and natural sources of this interference.  Regardless of the source, the effects can range from minor annoyances to potentially fatal accidents.  EMI and RFI travel in invisible waves and have the capacity to interrupt electrical and electronic equipment and communications.

These interruptions cause devices to malfunction, resulting in dangerous situations.  Documented consequences of EMI & RFI crosstalk include:

  • Death of a heart patient when EMI disabled her heart monitor/defibrillator
  • Residential gas ovens turned on by cell phone emissions
  • Failure of a surgery patient’s anesthetic gas monitor
  • Powered wheelchairs and scooters spontaneously drive off curbs or piers
  • Apnea monitors malfunction and erroneously detect respiration

Even worse, crosstalk is often initially overlooked as a potential cause of accidents.

An Overlooked Cause

EMI & RFI waves are ubiquitous. They are caused by things like: the sun, lightning, power lines, automobiles, consumer electronics, motors, welders, switches, heaters, cell phone equipment, microwave ovens, toys, lighting, commercial and public safety transmitters… basically anything with a voltage.

These waves are present all the time.  They’re dangerous when they win out and cause malfunctions and accidents.  This happens with electrical, electronic, and communications equipment.  This includes equipment used in places like mines, hospitals, and homes.

Unfortunately, many lawyers and even engineers are unaware of the potential devastating effects.  The cause often goes unnoticed.  We cannot see, hear, taste, smell, or feel crosstalk.  Also, few engineers have the specialized education and experience required to investigate.

Discovery Engineering can handle the most complex crosstalk investigations.  Call today for an analysis.

Who Is at Risk?

Any device that has electronic circuitry is susceptible to crosstalk.  We use and depend upon electronics every day.  Additionally, our electronic devices are increasingly complex and sophisticated.  These factors increase the potential risk of EMI and RFI.

The threat of EMI is controlled by adopting the practices of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC).  Call to learn more.