ECG simulator with configurable skin-electrode impedance and artifacts emulation

Daniel Almeida, João Costa, André Lourenco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrocardiograms (ECG) recorded from everyday objects, such as wearables, fitness machines or smart steering wheels are becoming increasingly common. Applications are diverse and include health monitoring, athletic performance optimization, identification, authentication, and entertainment. In this study we report the design and implementation of an innovative ECG simulator, providing simulation of signal related artifacts and a dynamically adjustable skin-electrode interface model. The ECG simulator includes a unique combination of features: emulation of time dependent skin-electrode impedance, adjustable differential and common-mode interference, generation of lead-off events and analog front-end output digitalization. The skin-electrode capacitance range is 1 nF-255 nF and the resistance span is 4 kΩ-996 kΩ. System's functionality is demonstrated using a commercially available ECG front-end. The simulated SNR degradation introduced by the ECG simulator is under 0.1 dB. Results show that the skin-electrode interface can have a significant impact in the acquired waveforms. Impedance electrode imbalance, specifically of the resistive component, can generate artifacts which can be misinterpreted has arrhythmias. The proposed device can be useful for hardware and software ECG development and for training physicians and nurses to readily recognize skin-electrode impedance related artifacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number065026
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • dry electrodes
  • ECG emulation
  • ECG front-end
  • ECGsimulator
  • electrocardiography
  • skin-electrode impedance


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