The Black Box ToolKit v2™ key features
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Psychologists, neuroscientists and vision researchers regularly make use of computer-based experiments. Most assume that the computer accurately presents stimulus materials and record responses as programmed with millisecond accuracy. However testing has shown this expectation is often misplaced. Presentation, synchronisation and response timing errors can be caused by many factors. Whether you make use of a commercial experiment generator or write custom software, you are likely to succumb to such errors. Inconsistent timing can lead to spurious conditional effects, poor replicability and bad science. Just a some of the causes of replication failure in computer-based psychology experiments are shown in the diagram below.

Idealised experiment shown top, what may happen on your own equipment bottom (click to enlarge)

How will a Black Box ToolKit v2 help? Typically the BBTK v2 operates as a virtual human programmed to respond to stimulus presentations and generate appropriate responses very accurately. It can step through your whole experiment as if it was a human participant. External sensors are hooked up to a second PC, Mac or Linux box to detect stimulus presentations and a generation interface is used to feed a response into the paradigm under test. The BBTK v2 measures the timing of all stimulus, synchronization and response events extremely accurately, allowing you to compare timing measured by your own equipment with the actual real world timings. The BBTK v2 can also work with upto 20 I/O TTL lines when used in fMRI studies, for EEG event marking or eye tracking.

  1. Set-up – Hook up external stimulus sensors (opto-detectors, mics, TTL) and a response device (response pad, robotic key actuator, sounder, TTL)
  2. Test – Use a wizard to select a stimulus pattern to automatically respond to/event mark. Then choose the exact reaction time, response device and duration
  3. Analyze – Check your stimulus, response and synchronization timings across up to 36 channels. Compare what your experiment recorded with what the BBTK saw

Remember the BBTK v2 is a dedicated self-contained hardware device that is designed to record onsets, reaction times and TTL event mark physical events in the real world as they occur with sub-millisecond accuracy. It has been specifically developed to help researchers address timing issues related to their own paradigms running on their own hardware. Where required it can even take over all presentation and response timing duties from your own hardware meaning you can be sure of sub-millisecond presentation and response timing in situations that are traditionally impossible, e.g. video clip presentation and response timing.

The BBTK v2 hardware and software is used in labs across the world and encompasses Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, Language and Vision research amongst others. It is the gold standard for assessing millisecond timing accuracy, event marking and self-validation. Be sure of your research results prior to publication.

Key features Model options Software suite Worked example Technical specifications Pricing  
Key features
  • Upto 4x opto-detectors for checking visual stimulus onsets and durations
  • Upto 2x mics for checking sound onsets and durations
  • Upto 2x sounders for triggering your own voice keys or mics
  • 4x Active Switch Closures for closing keys or buttons on your equipment
  • 2x TTL in channels/lines
  • 2x TTL out channels/lines
  • 25-way breakout board
  • Upto 16x additional TTL I/O channels/lines with TTL expansion module/breakout board
  • Option for 1x Robotic Key Actuator to press keys or tablet screens, e.g. laptop keyboards, iPhones, iPads etc.
  • 1-8 button response pad input port
  • API & SDK guide. Printed documentation detailing our software API which allows you to control the BBTK v2 from your own applications and decode timing data
  • Optional high quality aluminium carrying case

Sensors, modules & optional extras

Opto-detector sensor and cable
These opto-detector leads can be used with either the BBTK or external opto-detector modules.
BBTK digital microphone
Up to two can be used simultaneously for monitoring for auditory stimulus (adjustable trigger threshold).
BBTK digital sounder
Up to two can be used simultaneously for triggering remote voice keys (adjustable for amplitude/volume).
Active Switch Closure/TTL lead
2 wire Active Switch Closure leads (1m) can be attached to your own response devices to simulate button/key presses. Each lead can be attached to one button/key. TTL leads (1m) are identical to ASC leads and carry +5V and 0V through 2 wires.

By default leads are bare ended at both ends. If you require termination specific for your own equipment e.g. BNC, jack, terminal block etc. or longer lengths please contact us for a custom lead quotation.

25-way ASC/TTL breakout board
Allows for up to 2 TTL out, 2 TTL in and 4 ASC connections to your own equipment. Also includes 4 additional +5V/grounds.
16 Channel TTL expansion/breakout board
Breakout board with separate signal processor/CPU provides an additional 16 high speed multipurpose TTL lines (8 input/8 output). Ideal for event marking, synchronization or TTL based response devices.

(click to enlarge)
Robotic Response Key Actuator
Press keys on your own response devices, e.g. laptop keys, response pads etc. with our robotic finger. Unobtrusive and noninvasive.

Can also be used to make responses on devices with either resistive or capacitive touch screens, e.g. Android tablets, iPads, iPhones or other touch screen devices etc.

Black Box Toolkit USB Response Pad
Simply plug in to a USB port on your PC/Mac/Linux system and our response box will appear as a second keyboard. Press a button and a standard keystroke will be sent to your experiment. No need for drivers, no need to recode! Works out of the box with E-Prime, SuperLab, Presentation, Inquisit, PsychoPy or any other software that can accept standard keyboard responses. Also sends keystroke information to the BBTK v2 for monitoring response times.

Finished in attractive carbon fibre effect plastic our enclosure houses up to 8 buttons in a range of colours and locations.

Black Box Toolkit USB Response Pad with Voice Key
All the great features of our standard USB Response Pad but with an integrated voice key. If your participants make a vocal response this also produces a standard key press and TTL event mark! Simple to use and simple to setup with tunable vocal activation threshold. It's your choice whether to use it as a standard response pad or use it as a voice key.
API & SDK guide
Printed documentation detailing our software API which allows you to control the BBTK from your own applications and decode timing data. The BBTK is controlled via a virtual serial COM port over a USB connection using simple four letter commands.
High quality aluminium carrying case
Protects your BBTK and additional modules from accidental damage.

We strongly recommend you consider purchasing the aluminium carrying case shown to help protect the toolkit and additional modules.

Unless otherwise labelled, all products offered for sale by The Black Box ToolKit Ltd are for academic study and/or research use only.